ITIF Calls on Congress to Focus Telecom Policy on Broadband Innovation

October 22, 2013

WASHINGTON (October 22, 2013) - In advance of tomorrow's congressional hearing, The Evolution of Wired Communications Networks, Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), releases the following statement:

"ITIF applauds the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Communications and Technology for taking up this extremely important topic. Broadband telecommunications will continue to play a central role in the continued development of the digital economy. This makes it essential that we support policies that continue to promote telecom innovation and enhance adoption of broadband technologies.

As ITIF has noted in its report The Whole Picture: Where America's Broadband Networks Really Stand, in contrast to some claims, the United States is in fact among the world leaders in multiple measures of broadband performance and is making significant progress in improving quality and use as a whole. For example, in Akami's latest quarterly rankings comparing nations around the world on broadband speeds, the United States continued its upward trajectory, improving in both average connection speed and average peak connection speed. It should also be mentioned that many of the nations ranking above America in both categories either have small, densely-populated geographic areas where deployment costs are lower, or enjoy significant government subsidies for broadband deployment and adoption.

These statistics illustrate the success of America's competition-based broadband model in incentivizing innovation and promoting the continued deployment of high speed networks. This is particularly clear when we compare the U.S. to Europe. In Europe, slower network speeds and the lack of access to high speed fiber and cable modem systems have led several officials to call for adoption of U.S.-style, competition-based telecom regulations.

That is not to say that all the news is good. The U.S. continues to lag in broadband adoption, largely because we lag in digital literacy and computer ownership rates. We also went from seventh to tenth in percentage of connections above 10 Mbps in the latest Akami rankings. These figures highlight the need for increased support for policies to encourage more people to buy computers and become digitally literate, which would make it easier to support increased broadband investment. In addition, government should focus on increasing access to high speed networks, especially in high-cost areas."


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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues. Learn more at www.itif.org.