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ITIF Senior Fellow Claims "America's Broadband Networks Lead the World" 298

Posted by timothy
from the att-clearly-breaking-the-curve dept.
McGruber writes "In an Op-Ed published in The NY Times, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF.org) Senior Fellow Richard Bennett claims that 'America's broadband networks lead the world by many measures, and they are improving at a more rapid rate than networks in most developed countries.' Mr. Bennett also says, 'the most critical issue facing American broadband has nothing to do with the quality of our networks; it is our relatively low rates of subscribership.'"
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ITIF Senior Fellow Claims "America's Broadband Networks Lead the World"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:19AM (#44039043)

    Only possible because they had further to go in the first place.

    • "Only possible because they had further to go in the first place."

      Yep. And here's another good one:

      '... the most critical issue facing American broadband has nothing to do with the quality of our networks; it is our relatively low rates of subscribership.'

      Absolute BS. Sure, it may be the low rates of subscribership, but the first part is wrong. The low rates of subscribership are due to low quality of service combined with outrageous prices.

      The fact is: other "developed countries" have better service for less money. If there is any one halfway good excuse the US has for that, it might be the cost of infrastructure in areas of low population. But some other countries (like Canada) have that problem too.

  • What!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by willthiswork89 (2885827) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:19AM (#44039049)
    There are nations with 50 mbps for pennies on the dollar to our cost in America, not to mention absolutely no throttling or data limits. Wake up Richard Bennett! There are far too many monopolies in Americas internet connections and THATS the problem, no competition means they can do whatever the hell they want!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yup, I'm on the same 1.5 Mbps, I've been on for years. It just costs more now. This guy needs a lashing.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        Yup, I'm on the same 1.5 Mbps, I've been on for years. It just costs more now. This guy needs a lashing.

        Yeah, this guy is totally wrong because [insert my own personal anecdote here] !!!

        • Re:What!? (Score:5, Funny)

          by Cenan (1892902) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:59AM (#44039423)

          Yeah, this guy is totally wrong because [insert my own personal anecdote here] !!!

          Yeah, this guy is totally right because [insert cherry picked data points here] !!!

        • Yup, I'm on the same 1.5 Mbps, I've been on for years. It just costs more now. This guy needs a lashing.

          Yeah, this guy is totally wrong because [insert my own personal anecdote here] !!!

          The issue is that all of these personal anecdotes add up to a disturbing picture. I consider myself extremely lucky to be on 50Mbps for $60/mo with Charter on the West Coast. I've already come to terms with the fact that when I move next, it will likely be to a much worse service provider. Kinda funny how all of the free-market lovers refuse to break up these telecom monopolies, or at the very least regulate them into being dumb pipes.

          • Re:What!? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TemporalBeing (803363) <bm_witness.yahoo@com> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:39PM (#44040685) Homepage Journal

            Kinda funny how all of the free-market lovers refuse to break up these telecom monopolies, or at the very least regulate them into being dumb pipes.

            I love the free market; yet I also very much agree that the telecom industry needs a massive dose of breakup and regulation. For starters, Cable companies (and Fibre Optic services like FIOS and U-Verse) need to be forced to share their infrastructure.

            Personally, I'd move it all to a single owner model - perhaps (even likely) owned by the localities - where companies have to lease them from the owner. So AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc, won't have any ability to control the basic pricing or infrastructure - they'd all be forced to compete on the quality of their services instead of their infrastructure.

            It's time to realize that the internet Infrastructure really should belong to the people, and not be tied up in a wasteland of monopolies enforced by local governments - e.g. a small housing group should be able to get their own fibre optic line and split it among the group without having the county say "you can't do that because we signed this contract with company X and they have that sole right", that should all be illegal.

            • by microbox (704317)
              As soon as someone takes on a monopoly (say telecoms, phama, oil, coal), those industries dump a pile of money on the GOP who go around talking about big government getting in the road of small businesses. The GOP faithful like this because it makes them feel like they have political power. It is all rather ironic.
          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Yeah well you sir are a very rare bird in the USA, at least from what I've seen. I've lived in several states across the south and if you can get double digit you are lucky, with the average being between 3 Mbps-8 Mbps. Also you find out quickly that not only are the ISPs simply bleeding existing customers for higher profits they sure as fuck ain't spending a dime on adding customers, much less adding capacity to those they already have. Hell when I was there several spots in Nashville couldn't get better t

        • Yeah, this guy is totally wrong because I pay $75/mo for 60/8 Mbbps !!!

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          > Yeah, this guy is totally wrong because [insert my own personal anecdote here] !!!

          Argument by counterexample is a perfectly acceptable approach. It tends to be more effective when some clueless ass makes some really stupid general statement.

          The article was about one such ass.

    • Re:What!? (Score:5, Informative)

      by operagost (62405) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:27AM (#44039143) Homepage Journal

      Akamai published the Q4 2012 edition of their State of the Internet report yesterday, and it's pretty much as expected: the trends that have been evident since 2010 are continuing. Globally, Internet connections are growing incrementally faster, and we see this trend in the U. S.

      The U. S. has picked up one place in the "Average Peak Connection Speed" that's the best measurement of network capacity, rising from 14th to 13th as the measured peak connection speed increased from 29.6 Mbps to 31.5 Mbps.
      In terms of the "Average Connection Speed," widely cited by analysts who don't know what it means, the U. S. remains in 8th place world-wide. but we're no longer tied for it as we were in the previous quarter; Sweden is right behind us on this one.
      In terms of "High Speed Broadband Adoption", the proportion of IP addresses with an Average Connection Speed greater than 10 Mbps, we remain in 7th place, but now we're tied with Sweden.

      http://www.hightechforum.org/u-s-broadband-speed-slightly-better-in-latest-akamai-report/ [hightechforum.org]

      • Re:What!? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Shinobi (19308) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:39AM (#44039929)

        The fact that Bennet relies on the Akamai report is proof that he's writing a propaganda piece with only a fleeting touch of reality. The reality is, Akamai's figures for the nordic countries are grossly misleading, since Akamai's infrastructure here is appallingly bad, while it's quite extensive in north america, which skews the numbers a lot in the favour of the USA.

        Compared to LLNW and other competitors, Akamai is a brake for us over here, with LLNW for example allowing transfers in excess of 90Mbit/s, even during prime time, while Akamai hosts chokes at 25Mbit/s(if you're lucky....)

    • Many of the countries you believe are better have state run networks with no competition. The best have state owned infrastructure where providers compete with equal access.

    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      I'm in the US and get 55mbps for $30/month. Really if you can get very fast internet for $30/month I just don't see a cause for complaint. And then I get 4G/LTE with my $50/month contract-free phone.

    • There are far too many monopolies in Americas internet connections and THATS the problem, no competition means they can do whatever the hell they want!

      Which may be his point when he said we're "leading."

    • Re:What!? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ScottyLad (44798) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:35AM (#44039899)

      The author only compares America to other "developed" countries, but if I wanted the best Internet access, I would go so somewhere like South Korea, or anywhere in the Middle or Far East where the uptake of IPv6 and build-out of high speed access leaves Europe and America looking a bit last century.

      The whole article seems to be missing the fact that the developing countries are setting the pace these days.

      • Re:What!? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Junta (36770) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:43AM (#44040009)

        The whole article seems to be missing the fact that the developing countries are setting the pace these days.

        Which is stated with a degree of surprise, but if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

        In 'developed' countries, good enough reigns supreme. They may have state of the art infrastructure as defined by standards when the infrastructure was built. Getting tens of mbps to urban areas is 'good enough'. IPv4 is 'good enough'.

        In countries that have no acceptable infrastructure, they have the opportunity to start from the correct place as it is defined now.

    • by gutnor (872759)
      Yep, that's one of those points where the US is leading. Monetizing every single bit that travel through the network.
  • The Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:20AM (#44039057)

    "Mr. Bennett also says that'"the most critical issue facing American broadband has nothing to do with the quality of our networks; it is our relatively low rates of subscribership." .. which would not be a problem if the service was as cheaper and more reliable.

    • which would not be a problem if the service was as cheaper and more reliable.

      No, it would not be a problem if America worked to create an economy where people aren't struggling just to get by. If you can't feed your kids much more than generic Cheerios, a computer and broadband ain't too high on your list of priorities.

      • You think there are a lot of Americans struggling to get Cheerios?

        • Re: The Point (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Digital Vomit (891734) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:23AM (#44039715) Homepage Journal

          Hail, time traveler! Welcome to the World of Tomorrow! I will give you a brief introduction on some important changes in society that have occurred since your time:

          • Michael Jackson died a white woman
          • New Coke turned out to be a flop
          • Berlin Wall has fallen

          Believe it or not, a black man is president of the United States now. We have computers so small that they fit in the palm of your hand. The top 14% of Americans own almost 75% of the wealth and have devastated the economy over the past half decade. The average income of a worker has remained about the same since your time, but the average CEO now makes 350 times the average worker. With so much wealth being sequestered among the super rich instead of being shared among the middle class where it would be used to keep the economy going, the US is on the verge of a complete financial collapse.

          Welcome!

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          > You think there are a lot of Americans struggling to get Cheerios?

          If you think otherwise you have lived a very sheltered existence for your entire life.

        • Re: The Point (Score:5, Informative)

          by reve_etrange (2377702) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:02PM (#44041541)

          I don't have to think or believe that a lot of Americans are struggling to feed themselves and their families, because unfortunately I have the luxury of knowing it. 14.5% of US families suffer from food insecurity. SNAP (food stamps) only provides $4 / day.

          Page with summary statistics [worldhunger.org]
          2011 USDA study [usda.gov]

        • Re: The Point (Score:4, Informative)

          by kilfarsnar (561956) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:14PM (#44041671)

          You think there are a lot of Americans struggling to get Cheerios?

          Yes, this is news? See here [cbslocal.com]. The poverty rate has been going up for a bit now. And poverty is defined as $23,000 for a family of four. So yeah, there are a lot of Americans struggling to afford Cheerios.

        • Re: The Point (Score:4, Informative)

          by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:38PM (#44041889) Homepage

          Yes, there are: 18% of all households in the US [umich.edu] are in poverty, which is defined as being unable to afford food, water, or housing without government assistance. About 1.5 million households are in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $2 per person per day.

  • He is right for one very important metric, cost!

    Otherwise I say boo hiss go away shill.

  • Uh no (Score:4, Informative)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:22AM (#44039101) Homepage Journal

    America's broadband networks led the world in one respect; this is where we got widespread broadband first. We lag in every other regard. Miles of shitty copper used for services it can't really handle is not a metric to brag about.

    We get less for our money than almost anyone else, we have poorer penetration than almost anyone else... the former is because of corporate malfeasance, the latter is both because of that and because the USA is big. Nothing to be proud of either way.

    • We may have missed the boat on having fibre owned by local city/county governments and leased to whatever ISP gives you the best deal, but we what we have is a massive legacy network in POTS. We all had home phones when many places in the world did not thanks to copper. That was a huge advantage for a number of years and took a massive amount of infrastructure and time to build.

      The other problem is that we get compared as the entire USA vs say Sweden. It's not really a fair comparison given geographic po

  • U S A! U S A! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:24AM (#44039115)

    We're number 1! We're number 1!

    I suppose Mr. Bennett just disregards the 32 countries that have recently developed faster more modern networks (http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/). Make up some random metric, don't compare to all nations, disregard contradicting evidence, declare champion. Sounds like a good plan to me!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:26AM (#44039139)

    I was trying to share some music I created with a friend in South Korea. He has a 1 Gbit Internet connection. He couldn't connect to my IP in Canada at my house. Americans would never have this problem.

    I'd rather have modest/slow speeds that connect to everything than blazing fast speeds which serve only approved government propoganda and vanilla pop culture.

  • Yeah, I get that already... Thanks NSA. I have ceased using a backup service for all my stuff -- I'll start subscribing to your services for data recovery.

  • Why in the US are we so caught up in listening to idiots? We're listening to WAY to many "senior fellows" at thinktanks that are all promoting their own agenda and world view. There is nothing credible here... it's just an advertisement written by someone who is scared of the dreaded SOZIALSSM!!

  • by cjjjer (530715) <cjjjer@@@hotmail...com> on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:35AM (#44039225)
    The cost per MB maybe...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:39AM (#44039257)

    This opinion piece holds up Belgium as an example other European countries are trying to emulate, but Internet service there is incredibly expensive and has tiny monthly bandwidth caps, worse even than Australia. Almost any European country is doing better.

    The opinion piece also omits France and the story of Iliad / free.fr, and UK, which every other thing I've read says are the best examples of good policy nurturing successful infrastructure investment and cheap, fast Internet.

    The actual global story is that countries practicing "structural separation"---meaning the company that maintains the wires is not allowed to provide service over them---have really cheap and fast Internet. Iliad made so much money selling DSL and TV-over-DSL in a structurally-separated competition-fostering market that they started digging trenches and laying their own fiber (..which is, well, not structurally separated any more, but meh, at least it's there). Meanwhile after winning concessions that further destroyed the already broken DSL competition in the US on the basis it would "incent" them to invest in fiber, vz halted FiOS rollout in 2010 because they can squeeze more money out of people on vzw.

    BTW, if you actually used the Internet at LTE speed, you'd use $240/hr of bandwidth. Pieces like this only quote the speed but ignore that the network doesn't actually enable any "broadband applications" like cloud disk or TV-over-IP.

    US is a great example of policy derp. The pollies can't keep up with the jackmoves of these sophisticatedly-skeezy US companies.

    • US is a great example of policy derp. The pollies can't keep up with the jackmoves of these sophisticatedly-skeezy US companies.

      Just the opposite. The policies are doing exactly what the lobbyists intended, feed the corporate coiffures at the expense of the people. Remember, the government no longer represents the voters, only those who buy pay their way to get elected.

    • by MrNemesis (587188)

      As a UK citizen, I wouldn't exactly call our internet access options stellar; although there are a great many ISPs, the vast majority of them all use the old BT network for both last mile and backbone routing. These are built out by BT OpenReach that then sells them on to resellers. Good news is that the wholesale price is set low (and with a lot of government oversight) so that OpenReach can't sell to BT's ISP businesses at a different cost than they sell to everyone else. However, the bad news is that the

    • by MrNemesis (587188)

      Bad form to reply again, sorry; I have no idea what happened to my post above, half of it went missing. Thanks heavens for browser cache, here it is again:

      As a UK citizen, I wouldn't exactly call our internet access options stellar; although there are a great many ISPs, the vast majority of them all use the old BT network for both last mile and backbone routing. These are built out by BT OpenReach that then sells them on to resellers. Good news is that the wholesale price is set low (and with a lot of gover

    • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @04:27PM (#44042957)
      This opinion piece holds up Belgium as an example other European countries are trying to emulate, but Internet service there is incredibly expensive and has tiny monthly bandwidth caps, worse even than Australia. Almost any European country is doing better.

      I must be living in a parallel Belgium it seems. I have 60Mbit/s down with no bandwidth cap (FUP) for 55 euro. That also includes cable/decoder + telephone with free calls within Belgium and free calls to mobile/European countries for certain hours. If I would bump that to 24/24 then it will set you back another 5 euro. My mobile internet costs me 15 euro and that includes 2Gb of traffic.

      The cheapest internet on cable (which is available everywhere) will set you back for 25 euro and that includes 30Mbit/s and a limit of 100Gb. VDSL2 that is available in most places : 35Mbit/s including unlimited bandwidth and that for the price of 35 euro.

      It is what you call incredible expensive and tiny bandwidth...
  • by fullback (968784) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:40AM (#44039259)

    I don't live in the U.S. and I've had 100Mbps fiber for less than USD 50/month for so long that I have to stop to count... Let's see. It's been over 12 years, now.

    The U.S. does lead the world in cognitive dissonance, though.

  • Apparently it doesn't mean what you think. It doesn't mean senile old person who needs to die and leave the thinking to the younger people. Obvious, by his statement, that is what you think, but apparently dude is supposed to be popular with the rest of the people in his academy and won some important votes by other "senior" follows to become one himself.

    Does he know what he is talking about? No. I at first thought it said Senator because when it comes to tech, they know nothing, but apparently it's

  • I say rent him a small apartment in Tokyo with a paid 2 Gbps connection [techspot.com]. Then we'll see what he thinks of America's great broadband.
  • by WillgasM (1646719) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:56AM (#44039403) Homepage
    I, too, find it very difficult to sell inferior products at a huge mark-up.
    It sounds like all our country's Internet woes could be easily solved if ISPs just spent more money on marketing.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:01AM (#44039449)

    Yet another article proving that the only things the US really leads the world in is massively overrating their own country while maintaining total blind ignorance of anything outside it.

  • "improving at a more rapid rate than networks in most developed countries"

    I guess that's because the US has the most room for improvement.

  • Oh Statistics! LOL (Score:4, Informative)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:22AM (#44039699)

    "they are improving at a more rapid rate than networks in most developed countries."

    Analysis: Most developed countries already have better networks, thus less room to improve. The USA having backwater level networks, are able to improve to a much greater degree as the current "Can with String Attached" technology is much slower than your typical 2400 baud modem.

    Joking of course, and exaggerating (is there anything else on Slashdot), but I always get a kick out of these PR type statements which are "technically" valid, but only because of careful wording. Also known as, statistics, is there anything you can't solve?

    Another way to look at this, you just won the "Most Improved Player" on your little league baseball team, Congratulations! Your kid is fat and untalented, and we all felt sorry for them, have a trophy for participation... (I say this as someone with a closet full of them!)

    • No, there is nothing that Statistics can't be used to prove as long as you ask the right question....

      Lies... Dam Lies... and Statistics....

  • Almost none of this is true: America’s broadband networks lead the world by many measures, and they are improving at a more rapid rate than networks in most developed countries.

    Perhaps he intended for "lead" to be in the past tense? It's that silly English language...

    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      Perhaps he intended for "lead" to be in the past tense? It's that silly English language...

      If so, he should have left the "a" out - it should have been "America's Broadband Networks Led the World". At least in that case, English is not so silly as to have the past and present tenses spelled the same.

  • Sorry; this was written by another slashdotter; not sure who, but I clipped and saved for re-use someday and now here it is.

    We may not be the "best" at network speed and access; but here's what we are truly "number one" at:

    #1 The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and the largest total prison population on earth.

    #2 The United States has the highest percentage of obese people in the world.

    #3 The United States has the highest divorce rate on the globe by a wide margin.

    #4 The United

    • by Zapotek (1032314)
      A lot of those seem to imply absolute numbers rather than per capita, which is excusable seeing as the USA is quite large. Point taken though.
    • by Guy Harris (3803)

      Sorry; this was written by another slashdotter; not sure who, but I clipped and saved for re-use someday and now here it is.

      We may not be the "best" at network speed and access; but here's what we are truly "number one" at:

      To be fair, some of those items appear to be absolute counts rather than percentages; for example, number of $CRIMEs is less interesting than number of $CRIMEs per 1,000 people.

      Others, however, are rates/percentages, and, yes, a higher rate/percentage of $BAD_THING does make you interestingly #1 in $BAD_THING.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:03PM (#44040971)

    I agree, America has the best broadband in the world.*

    [fine print]* Where "The World" is defined as American and any country with worse broadband than America has.[/fine print]

  • by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:35PM (#44041283)
    America's "Broadband" networks are far more profitable than anywhere else in the world.
    And in the land of the corporations and the home of the greedy scumbags, isn't that all that matters?

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