The Whole Picture: Where America’s Broadband Networks Really Stand

Taking the whole picture into account, this report finds that the United States has made rapid progress in broadband deployment, performance, and price, as well as adoption when measured as computer-owning households who subscribe to broadband. Considering the high cost of operating and upgrading broadband networks in a largely suburban nation, the prices Americans pay for broadband services are reasonable and the performance of our networks is better than in all but a handful of nations that have densely populated urban areas and have used government subsidies to leap-frog several generations of technology ahead of where the market would go on its own in response to changing consumer demands.

The status of broadband networking in the United States versus other countries has been a hotly debated topic. Broadband has significant effects on economic growth, education, and quality of life and is therefore a matter of immediate as well as long-range concern. ITIF has reported previously on America’s broadband policy. Other think tanks and advocacy groups such as the New America Foundation, Technology Policy Institute, Free Press, and the Berkman Center have commented on this issue, and a number of popular books have dealt with the subject, two of them in the past few months.

Richard Bennett,
Luke A. Stewart
and Robert D. Atkinson

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