The United States continues to lose ground when the number of people with broadband communications connections here is compared to other countries.
U.S. broadband penetration among worldwide industrialized nations dropped from 12th to 15th place, according to broadband rankings released this week by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
In addition, the United States ranks 20th in the 30-member OECD roster in terms of growth rate of broadband penetration in the last year.
"We are failing to bring the benefits of broadband to all our citizens, and the consequences will resonate for generations," said Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, a national lobbying group whose goals are to reform the media and universal access to communications.
The United States maintained its lead position as the country with the largest total number of broadband subscribers in the OECD -- 58 million. America differs from most OECD members in that the bulk of its broadband deployment is provided by cable TV companies, while broadband in most OECD countries is delivered over DSL lines provided by phone companies
In its analysis of additional OECD broadband statistics, Free Press said that U.S. consumers pay dearly for broadband -- $10 per Mbps versus the $1 or less per Mbps that is paid on average by other OECD nations. "The growing digital divide between the United States and the rest of the world will have real-world consequences," said S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press who added that a continuing broadband lag by the United States will have "significant effects on U.S. economic performance on the global stage."
European countries are leading the broadband deployment sweepstakes with Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, and Sweden in the forefront of the rankings. Korea was also represented in the top tier rankings.
Fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-building began to make a strong showing in the rankings, as the OECD said nearly 7% of OECD broadband connections are represented by fiber links. Japan is the pacesetter in the fiber category.