Broadband homes, 2009

Apologists for the position of the United States in broadband subscriptions per 100 people rankings fault per capita penetration as misleading. The Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies writes:

"... the fallacy of relying on the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) broadband ranks as a meaningful indicator of U.S. broadband performance ... any argument ... the U.S. is somehow "falling behind" must be met with great skepticism ... one reason per-capita connections are an invalid measure of broadband penetration is that each country has its own unique maximum value for the measure (all share zero as the minimum). " [1]

An indicator such as the percentage of households with broadband access overcomes limitations of per capita measurements since there is a clear minimum (zero) and maximum (100). Based on that indicator, the United States ranks 15th.

Iceland ranks first with 87% of its homes having broadband access in 2009. [2] Korea ranks second. According to official government data, 81.2% of Korean households had Internet access of which practically all used broadband.[3] This is in contrast to figures that have been floating around putting Korean household broadband penetration as high as 95%—curious how that originated!

[1] Phoenix Center. "OECD DATA CONTINUES TO MISLEAD ABOUT U.S. BROADBAND STANDING." Press Release, July 7, 2010. http://www.phoenix-center.org/perspectives/Perspective10-05PressReleaseFinal.pdf.
[2] 90% of Icelandic homes have Internet access of which 97% use broadband. See: Statistics Iceland. 2009. Use of computers and the Internet by households and individuals 2009. https://statice.is/lisalib/getfile.aspx?ItemID=10022
[3] Korea Internet and Security Agency. 2009. Survey on the Internet Usage. http://isis.nida.or.kr/eng/board/?pageId=040100&bbsId=10&itemId=310

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