The United States is one the few industrialized nations that has not yet implemented a comprehensive policy to promote broadband internet access. Nations that have prioritized broadband infrastructure have already seen improvements. For example, Denmark improved broadband penetration between 2005 and 2007 from 25 to 34.3 connections per 100 inhabitants, while the United States has only improved from 16.8 to 22.1 (See chart). The United States currently ranks 15th of the 30 developed countries in overall penetration as measured by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).1
Expanding broadband infrastructure in the United States would not simply improve the speed of connections for entertainment purposes, but it will also bring a wealth of knowledge to more citizens in more areas. With greater reach, the United States could see improvements in education, health care, and first-responder capabilities as communications become faster, more efficient, and more effective.
Countries like Japan and South Korea that have made broadband a national priority are already experiencing the perks of their fiber optic expansion. Average broadband download speeds are hitting 61-megabits per second in Japan, while the average in the United States is only 1.9-megabits per second.2 Even the “fast” connection in the United States of 5-megabits per second requires 15 minutes to download a 4.5 GB movie file, while the average connection in Japan needs just 1.25 minutes.3
Well, most of the nanny states have more access to broadband Internet service. I will concede that people in those nanny states generally have a lower quality of life compared to the average American. I suppose that what happens when the government “confiscates” (or whatever libertarian verb is synonymous with taxation) peoples money so they are precluded from engaging in conspicious consumption. At least they have high quality internet access.