The Whole Picture: Where America's Broadband Networks Really Stand
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, February 2013
77 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2013
Date Written: February 4, 2013
Taking the whole picture into account, this report finds that the United States has made rapid progress in broadband deployment, performance, and price, as well as adoption when measured as computer-owning households that subscribe to broadband. Considering the high cost of operating and upgrading broadband networks in a largely suburban nation, the prices Americans pay for broadband services are reasonable and the performance of our networks is better than in all but a handful of nations with densely populated urban areas. Such nations have employed large government subsidies to leap-frog several generations of technology ahead of where the market would go on its own in response to changing consumer demands.
This report seeks to present a comprehensive picture of the health of wired and wireless broadband networks along four dimensions based on reliable and verifiable criteria:
1. Deployment (the geographic reach of broadband networks)
2. Adoption (the number of users who subscribe)
3. Performance (speed, latency, and reliability)
4. Price (per unit of usage and speed tier)
Moreover, it attempts to account for exogenous factors (e.g., differences in population density in urban areas, loop lengths, computer ownership, and public subsidies (through tax breaks and direct subsidies) that have major influences on deployment, adoption, performance and/or price. In addition, it measures adoption not only on a per-capita basis, as the OECD does, but also on a per-household basis, since households are the principal subscribers to residential broadband. Finally, it focuses on national systems of broadband, rather than selectively picking high-performing, low-cost networks exclusively serving dense populations in metropolitan areas.
Keywords: Broadband, Telecom, Deployment
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