The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report yesterday, Networked Nation: Broadband in America, 2007, which paints a rosy picture of broadband growth in the US and credits the Administration's policies for that success. In particular, the report praises the Bush administration for not favoring any particular technology, making more wireless spectrum available, and reducing regulation and taxation on telephone and cable companies. In return, broadband penetration has increased from 6.8 million lines in 2000 to 82.5 million in 2006, with residential usage increasing from 9.1% of households in 2001 to 50.8% in 2007. The report is full of charts and graphs, but never answers the question of why for all the progress the US has made, it still lags so far behind the rest of the world.
FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein issued statements of their own. Copps pointed out that "If the United States were a networked nation consumers would be paying half as much for broadband connections 20 times as fast." He mentions the OECD ranking which places the US 15th in broadband penetration but presumably he is also thinking of studies such as the ITU's Digital Opportunity Index, which ranks the US number 20 worldwide in quality, penetration, and affordability. Adelstein adds "Far from declaring victory, we need a national strategy for delivering affordable, truly high speed Internet connections to all Americans."