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Broadband - The Next Generation

October 14, 2009

The FCC has posted a draft version of a broadband study that was made by The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University (PDF). This very interesting report states “the Unites States is a middle-of-the-pack performer on most first generation broadband measures.” There are countries analyzed in the report with higher broadband penetration rates, who have higher capacity lines and who have faster and more ubiquitous wireless networks.

One of the most interesting findings is that those nations who have embraced “open access” policies are among the most high performing when it comes to broadband. The evidence seems to suggest that in countries such as Japan and South Korea, which have networks the report states are half a generation ahead of those in the U.S., have benefited from having policies that open not only their fiber infrastructure to competition, but also their wireless networks. Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are all also pushing things this direction, and their broadband performance has been improving. Countries such as Switzerland and New Zealand, which had resisted “open access”, have now changed course.

The FCC is looking for comments (PDF) on the Berkman Center study, and wants to know if the study accomplished its purpose, if it complete and objective, and how much weight they should give to the report, among other things. With the current Net Neutrality debate going on, it will be interesting to see the responses to this from the cable, telephone and competitive communications providers.

The report also points out that the $7.2 billion stimulus investment that the U.S. is making is mostly higher than similar investmants made by other countries. However, many of the leading countries have made long-term strategic public investments in their broadband infrastructure via expenditures, tax breaks and low cost loans.

I am excited that the U.S. is breaking out of the pack, and the leading role we will play in the Next Generation of Broadband. It is a great time to be working in this industry, and I look forward to making sure businesses are connected and enabled with advanced voice, data and security capabilities so that they can stay in constant contact with their customers, partners and staff around the globe.

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