New Broadband Study Gives Inaccurate Picture of Telecom Performance

October 28, 2013

WASHINGTON (October 28, 2013) – In response to the release of  the New America Foundation’s Cost of Connectivity 2013, Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, releases the following statement:

“The New America Foundation’s latest report on broadband performance, which argues that U.S. speed is lower and prices are higher than the rest of the world due to low competition, presents inaccurate comparisons and faulty data that muddy the true picture of American broadband and how we really compare to other nations around the world. As ITIF has previously stated, New America’s broadband studies have continuously cherry picked data and compared ‘apples to oranges.’

For example, the newest study wrongly compares rates charged by boutique ISPs with under 1,000 customers in urban areas to those charged by companies that serve millions of people in suburban and rural areas. It also does not take into account the significant government subsidies many nations implement to keep broadband prices artificially low. In addition, it reports ‘advertised’ broadband speeds, despite the fact that in many nations, not the U.S. however, advertised speeds are often significantly higher than actual speeds.

As ITIF has shown, over the last five years America has actually made great strides in improving average connection speeds, reducing broadband prices and enhancing overall infrastructure. In fact, according to the latest Akami report, the U.S. now ranks eighth in the world in average connection speed, up from ninth last quarter, and 11th in average peak connection speed, which grew 34 percent year over year. And according to the OECD, U.S. entry level broadband prices are the second lowest among member nations.

Instead of focusing on problems we don’t have, broadband advocates should be advocating for programs to improve broadband and computer adoption, where the U.S. continues to lag behind. This will make it easier to support increased broadband investment and lower costs for all consumers. In addition, we should focus on furthering the FCC’s National Broadband Plan to increase access to broadband networks in high cost, rural 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.