U.S. Leads World in Broadband Affordability per New ITU Data — Competition works!

March 6, 2009

America’s longstanding bipartisan policy commitment to promote broadband competition has succeeded in making broadband more affordable in the U.S. than any other country in the world according to the ITU.

  • Data in a broad new study by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) of 150 countries, show the U.S. substantially in the world lead with the lowest broadband prices as a percentage of per capita GNI. (See the tables on pages 56 and 66.)
  • Interestingly, the data show broadband in the U.S. is 2.5 times more affordable than Japan, and three times more affordable than South Korea and France (p. 66).

I. This is the sixth independent study that undermines the assertion that America is not a worldwide competitiveness leader in the converging sector of Internet, broadband, communications, and information technology.

  • ITU -2009: The U.S. has most affordable broadband in world.
  • University of Calgary – 2009: The U.S. ranks #1 in the world in their “Connectivity Scorecard.”
  • IMD Swiss Business School – 2008: The U.S. ranked #1 in the world for the 14th year in a row in the 2008 World Competitiveness Yearbook.
  • World Economic Forum – 2008: The U.S. ranked #1 in competitiveness in its 2008-2009 Competitiveness Report.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit: The U.S. was ranked tied for second in the world in “e-readiness” per their latest rankings.
  • Neilsen – 2008: The U.S. ranked #1 of 16 countries surveyed in mobile Internet penetration.

II. Evidence/data also continues to mount that current U.S. policy promoting inter-modal competition is working. The U.S. has:

  • The most affordable broadband in world per the ITU;
  • The second lowest wireless prices in the developed world, save for Hong Kong, prompting ~4 times more usage in the U.S. than in Europe per the ACI.
  • The only nationally-deployed alternative wireline broadband/cable infrastructure in the world.
  • More major wireless broadband competitors (5: Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Clearwire) than any country in the world.
  • The most private investment in broadband infrastructure in the world, ~$120b over the last two years, and ~20 times the amount of public investment in broadband for unserved areas in the ~trillion dollar economic stimulus package.

Bottom line:

The preponderance of the evidence and independent data show that policies promoting inter-modal broadband competition are succeeding in both absolute and relative terms.

  • If policymaking is truly data and evidence-driven, and policy makers look at all evidence objectively, and do not pick and choose data selectively by source or dimension, the policy case for continuing to promote broadband competition is compelling.

The data-driven case simply has not been made why America should jettison longstanding, bipartisan and successful public policy promoting broadband competition — in favor of unnecessary and risky net neutrality regulation.

  • In this fragile battered economy, common sense dictates doing no harm, not creating new risk and uncertainty, and not discouraging private investment, economic growth, and job creation in one of the only relatively-healthy sectors of this deeply troubled economy.
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