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OECD Broadband Numbers: U.S. Falls In Rankings

April 25, 2007
at 12:00 pm PST

The OECD* broadband rankings are out and the U.S. has dropped in the rankings again. As previously noted in this space, Charlie Giancarlo, Cisco’s Chief Development Officer, called for a national broadband plan in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle at the end of last year. With the 2006 OECD broadband rankings now out, I would like to again draw your attention to his rationale for said national broadband plan. Please make sure you check out the great data and graphs on broadband sliced and diced around the OECD at the bottom of their release.There are a lot of criteria at play here in the U.S. One, I believe, is the official U.S. definition of broadband…i.e. how we measure it. Something that I may have taken issue with before.In 2004, President Bush called for broadband access for all Americans by 2007 and clearly he has some other things on his plate, as does FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, so I won’t offer any commentary there, but I will encourage you to read coverage on this topic over at GigaOm. However, I think that as U.S. citizens (if you are Scandinavian or Korean or an Icelander I offer you my congratulations on your ranking!!) we should all be a little concerned about our technological place in the world. Sure, we will have the most broadband subscribers in the OECD by number and there is competition for broadband in some markets, however, as a nation, when we are measuring broadband by 200kpbs instead of 200Mbps I still think we are missing the mark. But, that’s just me talking. If I’m wrong, please correct me.There is, however, good news globally with broadband including the lede of the release, “Over the past year, the number of broadband subscribers in the OECD increased 26% from 157 million in December 2005 to 197 million in December 2006. This growth increased broadband penetration rates in the OECD from 13.5 in December 2005 to 16.9 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants one year later…”The U.S. House of Representatives is beginning to take steps on their Innovation Agenda as formulated by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and others. The Innovation Agenda also includes ways to “spur affordable access to broadband technology.”*The OECD is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD consists of 30 member countries.

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