United States continues to trail in world broadband rankings

According to a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), at the end of 2007, the United States ranked 15th out of the 30 member nations in broadband penetration. This is down from 12th place in 2006 and fourth place in 2001.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Korea and Sweden lead the OECD with broadband penetration well above the OECD average, each surpassing the 30 subscribers per 100 inhabitants threshold.

The strongest per-capita subscriber growth over the year was in Luxembourg, Germany, and Ireland. Each country added more than five subscribers per 100 inhabitants during the past year. On average, the OECD area increased three subscribers per 100 inhabitants over the year.

The reported called on governments to better promote broadband competition and offer consumers more choices, particularly in upgrades to fiber-optic lines.

Consumers in over two-thirds of the OECD nations pay less on average per month for broadband than consumers in the United States, noted S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press, a consumer activist group. Only seven countries pay more: Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Mexico, Iceland, Hungary, Poland and Norway.

He said the Free Press found that the countries with open access policies had nearly twice the level of broadband penetration as those that did not.

“The fact is that the countries outperforming the United States have something we lack — a coherent national broadband policy,” Turner said. ”Policymakers who are serious about America’s economic and social well-being should focus on the open access policies that bring the benefits of broadband to all Americans.”

For more information, visit www.oecd.org/sti/ict/broadband/.