The ITU says competition increases broadband penetration

The International Telecommunications Union has released a report that says The US is 11th in broadband penetration worldwide, with only 7% versus nearly 21% in Korea. I added emphasis to a key paragraph below;

More than 10 million of the world’s high-speed Internet users are in South Korea alone, a rate of 21.3 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Hong Kong was in second place with 14.9 percent and Canada was third at 11.2 percent.

The United States was in 11th place in the per-capita broadband rankings at 6.9 percent, though it had the highest overall total with 19.9 million subscribers.

Japan was in 10th place, with 7.1 percent broadband use. But ITU experts expect Japan to move up because it is now offering the world’s fastest speeds and lowest prices. Broadband service that is about 520 times faster than a dial-up modem is available in Japan for about $24.19 a month.

[Taylor Reynolds, one of the authors] said a key reason why Japan and South Korea are so far ahead is because of heavy competition among broadband providers. The Japanese and South Korean governments have taken steps to encourage the use of broadband, such as requiring telephone companies to let competitors use existing lines at low cost.

The FCC has taken the opposite approach, granting monopolies to local phone companies in exchange for them granting citizens broadband access when it suits their purposes.

Meanwhile, Peterme points to a Business Week commentary that says we need to grant telcos a monopoly on DSL, subsidize their deployment, and improve content protection to increase broadband penetration. He notes correctly that more content isn’t what we need to create broadband demand. There’s now plenty of evidence in worldwide Internet penetration to show this is nonsense that only serves intellectual property owners.

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