Bruce P. Mehlman
The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.
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While the average download speed for residential broadband subscribers in the United States is currently 2.3 Mbps, residential subscribers in Japan now average 63 Mbps. Moreover, service providers in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore either offer 1 Gbps residential service now or are planning to have comprehensive 1 Gbps residential service in the near future, and South Korea is complementing its fiber rollout with 10 Mbps wireless 4G services for mobility.
Google representatives claim that nearly 90 percent of the cost of deploying fiber is associated with construction costs like tearing up and repairing roads.
Fiber is available in 19.1 percent of U.S. commercial buildings with an average of 20 or more employees, a 10.9 percent increase from 2004.
Vertical Systems Group, in a recent research study, reported that business fiber availability, while still relatively small in comparison to traditional copper and other facilities, saw an 8 percent increase between 2004 and 2008.
In absolute numbers, the U.S. does well, with 79.07 million [broadband] subscribers, making it second only to China’s 83.37 million, but China’s subscriber base is growing faster.
Combined, Asia-Pacific and the South Asian and East Asian regions contain over 82 percent of the world’s deployed fiber. North America has only 7.29 percent.
Asia is leading in fiber optics, which delivers the fattest pipes, and the U.S. is ranked 24th globally in per capita broadband penetration.
As of the end of 2008, 4.1 million homes in the United States had fiber service, which puts the United States right behind Japan, which has brought fiber directly to 8.2 million homes, according to the Fiber to the Home Council.
Fiber optic cables can be made of plastic, glass or a combination of the two, but glass is usually preferred for long-distance communications.
80 percent of international communications traveled through undersea fiber optic cables.