U.S. lags behind in broadband infrastructure

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.

For businesses, it’s just as bad. The telecom merger spree has left many office buildings with a single provider – leading to annual estimated overcharges of $8 billion. Our broadband infrastructure should be a reason companies want to do business in the United States, not just another reason to go offshore.

The stakes for our economy could not be higher. Our broadband failure places a ceiling over the productivity of far too much of the country. Should we expect small-town businesses to enter the digital economy, and students to enter the digital classroom, via a dial-up connection? The Internet can bring life-changing opportunities to those who don’t live in large cities, but only if it is available and affordable.

Even in cities and suburbs, the fact that broadband is too slow, too expensive and too poorly subscribed is a significant drag on our economy. Some experts estimate that universal broadband adoption would add $500 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.2 million jobs.


Why do you want us to expand broadband…won’t that require more fossil fuel usage? :stuck_out_tongue:

You should be opposed to broadband expansion…it is a waste of money since we will all be living like cavemen in a couple of years.

All the top countries have tiny land masses and closer knit living communities compared to us. LOL.

Thats what it comes down too. in Australia most of us live near the coast. so we’re fairly close together. That’s why we are so high on the list. But for those of us (me) who live in the country areas. broad brand is very expensive and slow, in a lot of cases unavailable. just because of the cost of laying so much lines. The goverment have offered tax exemptions etc to companies to help with cost. but it’s a slow process. probably by the time broadband reaches us in the country the rest of the world will be using a even higher process of Internet, and we’ll be back to playing catch up again

Due to our bureaucratic government, our broadband services are way overpriced and slow. Japanese surfers clearly have a good deal. Yahoo BB’s 26Mbps package costs just 3,838 yen or $37. My broadband speed is like 3Mbps. What da…?

Well, I guess the nanny states know how to do it correctly then.

Denmark on another note also has “arbejdsmarkedspolitiske foranstaltninger.”

It is not about nanny states, but it’s about early adopter. Americans are slow to adopt when it comes to technology. I think they fear technology or something.

Well, sure…wouldn’t you want extremely high speed broadband for surfing, if you were living in a closet? :wink:

Yes and no. It too extraordinary measures to get power and telephone to all parts of the rural country. The fastest areas in rural areas are usually in the larger towns but also those with college campuses (smaller state or community colleges). They are the reason the fiber optic gets installed, and the local community can use some of the bandwidth.

Also, most DSL and Cable Modem technologies are distance limited without repeaters every couple of miles. Fiber optic can go much farther but it is much more expensive to install. The expansion will come, there will eventually be fiber optic in every port in everyones’ homes in the next couple of decades.

Hikikomori literally live in an small room. They do not even socialize with anyone.

Probably we lag behind in broadband because the U.S. already has a huge telecommunications infrastructure already in place … every home and office already has copper wire phone lines that offer very cheap service.

Some folks are perfectly happy with dial-up.

Some folks may not want to be on the internet. I happen to know folks just like that.

As time goes by, the existing telecomm providers offer free or low-cost upgrades. So why go through the effort of getting broadband when in a short time, all of the advantages will come to you as enhancements to existing service.

Seems to me that folks have the option on their own and they can pick and choose what services they want when they want them and for the price that meets their needs.

I saw an advert the other day for satellite-based internet services. Don’t know the technical specs. But it would seem that satellite-based services are available anywhere and everywhere.

Satellite is common in the rural areas. I assume that is what the Purple-colored “other” is.

The cost of getting a land line to your house is big.

You can drive through rural Ireland and see little sattelite dishes where lots of folks get their TV and some folks get their internet. Many use only mobile phones for that reason.

Speaking of which, the world has usually been way ahead of us on mobile phone technology (and pricing!) I blame US telecomms and their lobbyists.

There is another reason why other countries may be ahead of the U.S. in mobile phone technology. And that is many of those other countries have been historically terribly underserved with conventional copper wire telecom technology. Stringing wire around and building connection facilities is extremely expensive. In the U.S., this work was done by the private sector using private money and collecting subscriptions from the users.

However, in many of the other countries, the government took it upon themselves to build the infrastructure and provide the service and the government bureaucracy [that old thing rearing its ugly head again] just didn’t have the skills or incentives to do the job. It’s very capital intensive and very labor intensive. In the U.S., AT & T was the largest employer (over 1 million employees … and it was said that if automated electronic switch equipment had not been invented, that the telephone company would soon be employing every woman in the U.S. as a telephone operator) and also a huge issuer of common stock. The dividends from the telephone stock provided many people with their retirement income.

In any event, when cell phones were invented, that new technology gave other countries with limited telephone access to leapfrog over the copper wire technologies in one bound.

And that’s what they did.

In the U.S., everyone already had a telephone and the phone company (-ies) were constantly working to upgrade conventional phone service. So, service was excellent. One of my friends who worked at the phone company for 40+ years said that they actually transmitted live national network television programs for decades by telephone lines. He described the challenges of getting the timing right, etc.

The AT&T phone service was expensive, however. And eventually competition from … believe it or not … a company that sold answering machines … led to AT&T being broken up into seven smaller companies … in addition to which many other newer, smaller companies began providing niche services and products.

The phone company also invented it’s own technology … Bell Labs and Western Electric were famous for innovations … the transistor and the programming language “C” along with, if I recall correctly, Unix, the operating system, which led to Linux that uses Unix as its basis.

In addition to telephone communications and television, AT&T also sent radar data for the FAA and for the U.S. military (air defense). The technical capability was amazing. There were huge hubs all around the country so that calls could be routed efficiently and avoid delays. In many cities, the traffic signals are linked to the master computer by the telephone company. it’s often cheaper than any other way.

So, the United States was really blessed with innovation. The lack of adequate innovation by government bureaucracies in other countries led to those countries seizing upon the ability of cell and other satellite based technologies to allow them to catch up to provide the services that the people were clamoring for.

Have you any figures on that? I’ve not noticed Western European homes exactly lacking in telephones (hence widespread ADSL Broadband, of course).

In any event, when cell phones were invented, that new technology gave other countries with limited telephoone access to leapfrog over the copper wire technologies in one bound.

Most people I know just got a cellphone as well but, if you’ve got the figures, please tell.

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