The OECD released it’s quarterly Broadband penetration update for December 2006. It’s an excellent summary of broadband penetration even though it doesn’t include China or India. The most interesting aspect is the breakout of broadband lines by technology on a country by country basis.
Here are the key takeaways.
All of the data is well graphed and the Excel tables are downloadable. A nice touch.
Now for the editorial….
In true continental fashion, the graphs illustrate broadband penetration rates per 100 people, not absolute numbers. This way the gigantic behemoth that is the US can be tamed and brought in-line with countries like Iceland and Denmark.
Every quarterly OECD release results in a cavalcade of editorials trumpeting the decline of the US position, and the need for a coherent national broadband policy. I’m suspicious of such endeavors to a fault and I’m not concerned that Norway and Switzerland outrank us by a slim margin.
The real measurement that should be made isn’t broadband penetration, but how many people would like broadband and cannot have it. The problem might be that Americans don’t care as much about broadband as others. But hey, why get statistical reality get in the way of good political haymaking?
Companies only invest risk capital when the potential returns warrant it, regardless of the wishes and magical wand waving of pundits and politicos in Brussels or Washington DC. What has me worried is that the government and bloggers believe everyone wants a broadband connection and will find a way for you and me to pay to give it to them. In essence, that is what any broadband policy ultimately will be.
Enough editorializing. It’s good data.
Update: US State Department questions accuracy of results.