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OECD Broadband Stats ‘Clarified’

The OECD statistics are the weapon broadband pundits cite in order to bludgeon folks into believing the USA is a broadband backwater, trailing technical powerhouse nation-states such as Iceland and Norway.

Market Clarity, a research firm out of Australia performed an independent analysis of the data and found some gross mis-representations. Along the way they added a thicker set of data that is simply the best global broadband stats I’ve seen that is free.

The report corrects the OECD stats for variations in household size and presents the data in a more meaningful manner, including rankings by speed offered. The US is ranked 3rd in the world, not 12th, if you only count connections over 256kbs and adjust for variations in household size.

So, next time someone brings up how terrible the state of broadband is in the USA when compared with the rest of the world, point them here. I’m sure the broadband hounds of doom are already checking out the firm to see if they have taken money from AT&T, Verizon, etc.

I still stand by my opinion that the only measure that matters is how many people want broadband but cannot get it. The folks who gauge a countries success by absolute broadband penetration are no different than the other government-is-your-mommy folks who claim to know what is best for you.

Thank you for clarifying things, Market Clarity.

Full report here.


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  1. In densely populated country like China, ” peer pressure ” has a stronger influence on consumer’s behavior than goverment. Many individuals in China have more than one cell phone, which makes one wonder why.

    Posted by yf | May 16, 2007, 5:02 AM
  2. Whoever considers 256Kbps “broadband” is not much better than FCC, whose definition of broadband is:
    “High-speed lines (or wireless channels) connecting homes and businesses to the Internet at speeds that exceed 200 kbps in at least one direction.”
    Consider that the wireless EDGE service, with theoretical maximum speeds of 384Kbps, is counted as broadband by FCC (and the OECD stats). Thus, anyone who has a data service from Cingular is counted as a broadband user. In actual radio connectivity conditions, and since this bit rate is shared among all cell data users, I am lucky to get dial-up speeds on my Blackberry. In a crowded place (such as in the Cable Show I just attended), I couldn’t even send emails.
    This broadband definition is a better indication of “broadband backwater” than any statistics.

    Posted by Adi Bonen | May 16, 2007, 12:17 PM
  3. OECD Broadband Stats ‘Clarified’ indeed, but not by Market Clarity.

    A number of personalities, including the Australian communications minister and the author of this blog, have egg on their face since they happily endorsed the controversial claims of a new Australian market research firm, Market Clarity.

    But I am sure Nyquist already knows that the OECD experts ( have quickly challenged the Market Clarity methodology and factual basis.

    I am sure Market Clarity is still enjoying the controversy, knowing that bad publicity is better than no publicity. However, the losers are the readers of this blog, left as they are with a one-sided view of this story.

    Posted by Jean-Noel Marchalot | May 29, 2007, 9:46 AM
  4. Hardly one sided. I’ve written about the OECD stats at length.

    The fact there is controversy, is good, not bad. There should be open debate about how stats are collected and presented, particularly since the OECD stats are used as a political tool.

    Good research needs peer review and open arguments.

    Posted by Andrew Schmitt | May 29, 2007, 11:00 AM