WASHINGTON, October 14, 2009 - In a draft 232-page report that the Berkman Center of Harvard University conducted for the Federal Communications Commission – and was released by the agency on Wednesday – the United States was rated less-than-the-best in broadband performance.
The draft report found the U.S. lacking in fixed broadband, mobile penetration and in average prices at medium and very high speeds.
Titled “Next Generation Connectivity: A review of broadband internet transitions and policy from around the world,” the report distinguishes between countries with successful broadband outcomes from those whose outcomes might be seen as less than desirable.
The U.S. is a good performer in both advertised and actual speeds, said the report. It has lower-than-average broadband prices, and provides the lowest rates for slow internet connections. The same is not true for higher-speed broadband connections, where U.S. prices are higher.
The U.S. began the 21st century in the top quintile of nations in low prices and high broadband penetration. But it has been overtaken by other countries over the past decade.
The Berkman report favorably commented on “open access” policies, including unbundling, wholesaling, functional or structural separation and co-location requirements. Such policies had fallen out of favor during the Clinton administration and particularly the Bush administration.
The report said, however, such open access policies have played a core role in the first-generation transition to broadband in most high performing countries. Such policies have been used in other countries to increase levels of competition, lowering entry barriers and regulating telecommunications inputs.
The lowest prices were mostly found in countries where there were multiple competitors in the market, included those who entered the market and made use of such open access facilities to build their presence.
In the stimulus and recovery funds, the current level of U.S. investment to support the rollout of high-capacity networks is generally higher, on a per-capita basis, than the investments made in other countries.
The report said that the leading countries in fiber deployment are also the leaders in large, long-term capital investments through tax breaks, government expenditures and low-cost loans.
Additionally, many countries invested in supporting broadband demand by including programs such as extensive trainings for adults in the workplace, as well as teacher training and curriculum development programs in schools. Generally, such programs have subsidized computer hardware and connection costs for low income users.
Bringing better broadband to the U.S. must include the general goal of bringing fiber deeper in the neighborhoods, and bring cable as close to the home as possible, said the report.
Fiber capacity has been seen as “futureproof” and will likely scale over longer periods to accommodate the increasing capacities and growth rate of communications needs capacities and innovations, said the report.
- FCC Takes Two Actions Promoting Spectrum Sharing, Also Implements 988 as Suicide Hotline
- Telephony Industry Rises to the Challenge of Robocalls, With Legislation, Regulation and Enforcement Close Behind
- Lifeline Remains the Best Method for Connecting All Americans, Says FCC’s Geoffrey Starks
- Connectivity and Mobility Are Key Pillars of Metropolitan Development, Say Congresswomen at Smart City Event
- Lawmakers, Prosecutors and Big Tech Companies Spar at Senate Hearing Over Unlocking Encryption
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
5G3 months ago
Broadband Roundup: CBRS on a Roll, Innovation Fund in Rural California, Another Verizon 5G Announcement
Antitrust2 months ago
Broadband Roundup: Comcast vs. Google, Sprint’s Open 5G Network, Ransomware Rises
Spectrum2 months ago
Wireless Internet Providers Excited About Multiple Spectrum Sharing Opportunities, Including FCC Priority Access
Net Neutrality2 months ago
D.C. Circuit’s Decision in Net Neutrality Case Likely to Open New Fronts of Attack Against FCC
5G2 months ago
Questions of Public vs. Private Auction and Role of 5G Spectrum Dominate Conference on C-Band
Tribal Broadband3 months ago
Wireless Broadband Likely to be a Key Component in Getting Broadband to Tribal Country
National Broadband Plan2 months ago
Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg: Democratic Presidential Candidates With a Broadband Plan
China3 weeks ago
Prakash Sangam: China’s Huawei Clones Are Greater Threat to National Security than Huawei