Press Releases

Internet Innovation Alliance Highlights Key Findings; Study Suggests U.S. Broadband Performance Better than Commonly Reported

WASHINGTON D.C.July 19, 2007 – Using an innovative new method, the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies has published a study that analyzes and compares the broadband penetration rate in developed countries.  The study demonstrates that the U.S. has made meaningful progress in deploying broadband Internet that is consistent with its economic and demographic conditions.  Broadband penetration is critical because it fosters employment and income growth, helps monitor chronic diseases through telemedicine and promotes education through distance learning.The Phoenix Center’s Broadband Performance Index (BPI), analyzes broadband adoption according to key factors including income, income inequality, education, population age, and population density.  The study shows that each of these factors plays a significant role in the rate that broadband technology is adopted in a country and cannot be ignored when comparing broadband subscription between countries.  Each of the 30 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) were given a score as to whether broadband adoption in that country was over- or underperforming relative to those factors.  This new index shows that broadband penetration in the United States is roughly in-line with countries such as Japan and Korea, which are often cited as ahead of the adoption curve by other measures.“The purpose of deriving the BPI was to provide a more refined comparison of broadband subscription among countries by considering the factors that drive broadband penetration,” said George S. Ford, co-author of the study and Chief Economist at the Phoenix Center. “While broadband penetration in the United States can certainly be improved with pro-investment policies, it’s not nearly as dire as the current rhetoric suggests.”The Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), a coalition of non-profit organizations and businesses committed to universal broadband access, is encouraged by the study and strongly supports ongoing investment in and access to further broadband technologies and usage.  “The explosion of demand for internet bandwidth, driven largely by a surge in video applications which consume more bandwidth than emails or information searches, is creating a data deluge known as the exaflood,” said Larry Irving, co-chair of the IIA. “This research by the Phoenix Center will aid U.S. broadband development and deployment by more tangibly identifying the factors which play a role in driving its use.  Any and all progress made in more effectively measuring broadband use enables better management of the networks supporting it.”Among key findings in the Phoenix Center’s study are:

  • Broadband adoption in the United States is roughly commensurate with its demographic and economic conditions, with a BPI score of -0.006.
  • Denmark, which the OECD has ranked 1st in December 2006 based purely on raw broadband subscription figures, actually is underperforming relative to its endowments, with a BPI score of -.090.
  • Several countries are over-performing relative to their demographic and economic endowments, including such surprises like Portugal (BPI=0.174) and Turkey (BPI=0.093).

“This valuable report reminds us that we are not really racing against other nations,” said Bruce Mehlman, co-chair of the IIA.  “Rather, we are racing against time, working to provide new bandwidth fast enough to accommodate the exponential explosion of new digital content.”To view the study in its entirety, it may be downloaded free from the Phoenix Center’s web page at: http://www.phoenix-center.org/pcpp/PCPP29Final.pdf.

The Internet Innovation Alliance

Larry Irving and Bruce Mehlman founded the IIA in 2004. Irving is president and CEO of Irving Information Group, a consulting firm providing strategic advice and assistance to international telecommunications and technology companies. Mehlman is co-founder of Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti Inc., a bipartisan public affairs consulting firm based in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the Internet Innovation Alliance visit: www.internetinnovation.org