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New global stats show U.S. still behind in broadband

25 Sep, 2014

Amid a worldwide growth of broadband access, and rise in connectivity speeds, the United States is not keeping pace as a world leader.

The UN’s annual broadband report says, “By the end of 2014, some 2.9 billion people or 40% of the global population will be online. At current growth rates, half of the world’s population will be online by 2017.” But, detailed numbers in the report are cause for consternation in the U.S.

Specifically:

•    For instance, the U.S. ranks only 19th in percentage of individuals using the Internet, behind mostly European countries, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

•    When fixed broadband subscriptions only are counted, the United States dropped from 20th to 24th, behind countries such as South Korea, France and Canada.

•    The U.S. does better in percentage of mobile broadband subscriptions, ranking 10th, slightly ahead of the U.K. and well ahead of most other large EU nations.

The report, The State of Broadband 2014: Broadband for All. is produced by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development. The commission, in turn, is a project of the UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The report spans various aspects of broadband growth, including policies and business, models, and the overall statistics on broadband are significant: it continues to grow worldwide. In 2013 there were 70 countries where more than half the population was online; this year it’s up to 77.

Speed Matters urges U.S. political, business and nonprofit leaders to enact policies which will help close the gap between the U.S. and the world leaders in broadband.

The State of Broadband 2014: Broadband for All (ITU, Sep. 2014)

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