The World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) today released their survey of competitive nations in the world. First place was? Anyone want to guess? For the second straight year: Finland. The U.S. came in second. The top 10 was rounded out by: Sweden, Denmark, Taiwan, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Australia. To read the criteria for rankings, please go to the WEF site. China and India are near the middle of the pack of the 100 ranked nations.
These rankings made me think a bit. What do Nordic nations have (in general) that is lacking in the rest of the world? I haven't mapped the WEF competitive list to the world's top broadband nations, but I bet they are pretty darn close. Is broadband the be-all, end-all of a competitive nation? Absolutely not, but broadband does make one more productive, which leads to being more competitive. Those utilizing broadband are also generally better educated (i.e. they have a good education system). When broadband is utilized there is more online spending involved, which, in turn, leads to more efficiencies in the supply chain and then, ultimately, of course, makes everybody better looking, richer and live longer. (Okay, maybe not those last three things.)
Speaking of broadband, I also just heard today that 61% US internet users now utilize broadband…that dial-up figure is dropping sharply. I have also heard that the uptake of the internet in general is slowing in the US, but I look at that as an opportunity to get broadband speeds up the REAL broadband definitions, not that of the FCC, which is a shockingly low measurement of 200kbps upstream and down. Want to check that fact? www.fcc.gov. I think we all agree with the always-on component of broadband, but the high-speed part seems to be a moving target. What SHOULD be the definition of broadband, speed-wise? Thoughts?