According to a report released today by The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) the United States has “made rapid progress in broadband deployment, performance, and price as well as adoption.”
The report offers a comprehensive view of both wired and wireless networks based on:
- Deployment (the geographic reach of broadband networks)
- Adoption (the number of users who subscribe)
- Performance (speed, latency, reliability)
- Price (per unit of usage and speed tier)
Overall, the report paints a picture of healthy broadband competition in speed, prices, offerings, and access in the United States as compared to other nations.
For example, the report indicates that the price for entry-level broadband in the US is the second lowest amongst OECD countries and that economic returns received by American broadband ISPs are comparable to ISPs in other nations.
One key data point from the report shows the average connection speed in the US during the third quarter of 2012 was 29.6 Mbps. That puts us in sixth place amongst OECD countries with performance speeds faster than 10 Mbps. In addition, 82 percent of American homes are passed by cable tech capable of 100Mbps or higher.
As the report explains, a major error often found in broadband ranking indexes is the failure to account for significant disparities between countries’ population densities and government subsidized Internet infrastructures. ITIF’s analysis, in contrast, takes note of these differences, and as a result, provides a more accurate assessment that considers both the current state of broadband health as well as nations’ program trajectories.
And on the matter of competition, the report offers key figures that show the vast majority of Americans have more than one choice when it comes to broadband. The chart below shows that nearly 90 percent of Americans can choose between five or more broadband providers, including wireline, wireless and satellite.
Given the widespread availability of broadband choices, the report also rightly concentrates on the importance of programs designed to improve digital literacy and increase broadband adoption. We in the cable industry agree with that assessment and continue work with a variety of groups and organizations to educate communities on the importance broadband and to help low-income families with children get connected.
By taking an all-in approach, the ITIF has offered an accurate look at the current state of broadband access in the United States and has provided some needed analytical rigor to the debate over technological progress here in America.