According to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in a ranking of broadband penetration among 30 member nations, the US has slipped from 4th place (2001), to 12th place (2006), to 15th place this year. Corporations, lobbyists and politicians have skewered the report, but this follow-up piece from Free Press provides a point-by-point rebuttal and confirms that yes, by pretty much every account, the United States enjoys craptastic Internet access.
Why? Poor policy decisions at the Federal level, leading to lack of competition in the marketplace. (This is why Net Neutrality could be a good thing.) In most markets, there’s only a couple of choices for broadband access. In the European and Asian countries that score higher, there may be up to a few dozen competitors sharing the same platform.
Regardless of how funny the term “broadband penetration” may be (and we know it’s making us smirk), that’s pretty disappointing news. US customers live and compete in an increasingly interconnected world, but–as in the mobile sector–have to deal with the underdeveloped technologies of an anti-competitive market.
Read the report, or at least the announcement about it, and see for yourself, so that the next time your favorite political representative regurgitates official corporate PR spin, you’ll be able to write a nice, polite letter of correction.
Shooting the Messenger [Free Press]
(Photo: Adam Caudill)