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More perspective on US broadband/technology ranking in the world

For those trying to get an accurate handle on America's real standing in the world in broadband and technology, it is important to have multiple perpsectives in order to get the best and truest read on reality.

  • Kudos to LSE Professor Leonard Waverman's new "Connectivity Scorecard" which is a new index that "measures the extent to which governments, businesses and consumers make use of connectivity technologies to enhance social and economic prosperity."
    • It is telling that this study, produced by a citizen of Canada and France and which was funded Finland's Nokia and Germany's Seimens, ranked the United States number one in the world in Connectivity for prosperity, ahead of #4 Canada, #5 Finland, #8 Germany and #9 France. 
  • Professor Waverman's findings, which are independent of U.S. conflicts, are similar to another respected independent entity that is conducting similar research: the Economist's Intelligence Unit which does global rankings of e-readiness in information technology, which found the United States tied for second in the world with Sweden behind Denmark. 
  • These analyses provide independent and objective confirmation of the positive assessment of America's broadband standing made recently by the U.S. Commerce Department's NTIA in its seminal report: "Networked Nation: Broadband in America 2007."

These positive assessments and high global rankings of the United States broadband standing and progress stand in stark contrast to others who argue that the U.S. is falling behind the world. 

  • Those who argue that America is falling behind in broadband have an agenda they want to forward: that the United States should abandon free market competition policies and adopt Government subsidized and "managed-competition" policies. 
    • Proponents of this interventionist view selectively harp on the latest OECD broadband rankings which show the US 15th. 
    • These pro-regulation proponents:
      • Ignore the biases and weaknesses of the OECD study, which were well analyzed by FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell; and
      • Selectively focus on only the broadband penetration metrics in the OECD study and fail to acknowledge the U.S. leadership attributes in the OECD findings:
        • -- that U.S. DSL prices are lower than Europe and
        • that the U.S. is rare in not having broadband usage caps.      

There is a concerted chorus of speakers: Chairman Markey, FCC Commissioners Adelstein and Copps, and others who maintain that the United States has fallen behind in broadband -- in order to provide "justification" for their proposals to have the Government, not the free market, manage United States communications policy.

Expect this debate between free market adherents and the pro-regulation industrial policy adherents to continue to heat up.

  • The Alliance for Public Technology is hosting the latest public debate on this topic by hosting a policy forum:
    • "Framing Broadband Policy for the Next Administration" at the National Press Club in Washington on Friday, February 15th from 8:30 to 11:45.

Bottom line: The facts and independent assessments are on the side of free markets. The only way the pro-regulation forces can make their case is selectively use the few statistics that forward their case and ignore the wealth of facts that do not support their policy conclusions.