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Broadband Speeds in Perspective

A Comparison of National Broadband Goals from Around the Globe
March 25, 2010 |

The National Broadband Plan was released this past Tuesday with a vision for broadband in America. The Plan proposes two goals for broadband access: a “universalization target of 4 Mbps [megabits per second] download and 1 Mbps upload,” as well as a goal that “100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and actual upload speeds of at least 50 Mbps by 2020.”[1] Our analyses compare universal broadband speed goals with multiple other countries from around the globe.

Country

Target (universal unless noted)

Completion Date

Taiwan

99.1% have access to 10 Mbps

2006[2]

Japan

30 Mbps to 90%

2008[3]

Sweden

Universal 2 Mbps (100 Mbps for 90% by 2020)[4]

2010[5]

Germany

1 Mbps

2010[6]

Denmark

2 Mbps

2010[7]

United Kingdom

2 Mbps

2012[8]

Ireland

2.3 Mbps

2012[9]

South Korea

50 Mbps for 95% (99% had 1 Mbps access by 2008)

2013[10]

Finland

100 mbps connection to over 99%

2015[11]

United States

4 Mbps down 1 Mpbs up (100 Mbps for ~75%)[12]

2020[13]

Many countries with existing strategies have already met universal broadband access goals or expect to reach them by the end of this year. In Taiwan, for example, 99.1% of the population had access to 10 Mbps broadband in 2006.[14] Germany released their Federal Governments Broadband Strategy in 2009, and set a goal to reach universal 1 Mbps speeds in 2010 (with a later benchmark of universal service of 50 Mbps).[15] Sweden, along with Denmark who defined “broadband” as 2 Mbps in 2001,[16] both set 2010 as the target for access to universal broadband.[17] Sweden also set a goal for 90% of the country to have access to 100 Mbps connectivity by 2020.[18]

In Ireland the National Broadband Scheme expands broadband access “all those who couldn’t get broadband before”[19] beginning with a minimum speed of 1.2 Mbps, upgrading to 1.6 Mbps this year, and achieving a minimum speed of 2.3 Mbps in 2012.[20] To drive adoption, Ireland also set a standard price for this service of £19.99 (roughly $27) a month. The United Kingdom also expects to reach universal service of 2 Mbps by 2012.[21]

Japan began u-Japan in 2006 and set the goal of 90% of the population having access to 30 Mbps broadband access, an achievement they accomplished in 2008.[22]South Korea set a goal of 50 Mbps for 95% of the population by 2013 (99% of the populace has had access to 1 Mbps speeds since 2008).[23] Finland has set a goal of 100 Mbps universal connectivity by 2015.[24]

The U.S. National Broadband Plan sets a goal of 4 Mbps downloads (1Mbps upload) by 2020, which, by comparison is a minimum of a half-decade later and often substantially slower than other countries. The concomitant goal of 100 Mbps access for 100 million households by 2020 would cover an estimated 74-76% of the population.[25] 10 years ago, the United States was a leader in broadband penetration; however, the latest OECD ranks the U.S. 15th, behind France, Sweden, Canada, and a dozen other countries.[26] As our research clearly documents, even if the U.S. achieves its current broadband speed targets by 2020, unless it substantially raises its broadband goals, the country will remain substantially behind many other countries. 

 


[1] See Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan (p. 9 and 135). March 2010, available at http://download.broadband.gov/plan/national-broadband-plan.pdf.

[2] See Taiwan National Information and Communication Initiative. 12th Committee Meeting. (Translated) available at: http://www.nici.nat.gov.tw/content/application/nici/workgroup/guest-cnt-browse.php?cnt_id=89. (last viewed March 19, 2010).

[3] See Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: National Broadband Deployment Report. September 2008 (translated), available at: http://www.soumu.go.jp/main_sosiki/joho_tsusin/broadband/broadbandstrategy/seibi.pdf.

[5] See Proposal for Swedish broadband strategy, available at: http://www.pts.se/upload/documents/en/proposed_broadband_strategy_eng.pdf.

[7] See It and Telecommunications Report 2009, available at: http://en.vtu.dk/publications/2009/it-and-telecommunications-policy-report-2009.

[10] Cited from Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan (p. 156).Letter from Young Kyu Noh, Minister Counselor of Broad. & ICT, Embassy of the Republic of Korea, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, 09-137 (Feb. 3, 2010) Attach. at 3, 6 (The 1.5–2M[bps] class high-speed network was completely established in 2008 with a goal of minimum 50Mbps to 95% of households by 2013; also shows that Korea served 99% of population with 1Mbps service by 2008.)

[11] Making Broadband Available to Everyone (p. 16), available at: http://www.lvm.fi/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=57092&name=DLFE-4311.pdf

[12] According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau projections, the population is expected to be 341,387,000 in 2020. Persons per household estimate is based on 2000 census. http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/files/nation/summary/np2008-t1.xlsandhttp://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html.   

[13] See Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan (p. 9 and 135). March 2010, available at http://download.broadband.gov/plan/national-broadband-plan.pdf.

[14] See Taiwan National Information and Communication Initiative. 12th Committee Meeting. (Translated) available at: http://www.nici.nat.gov.tw/content/application/nici/workgroup/guest-cnt-browse.php?cnt_id=89. (last viewed March 19, 2010).

[16] See From Hardware to Content: Strategy for Fast, Cheap and Secure Internet to all of Denmark, available at: http://en.vtu.dk/files/publications/2001/from-hardware-to-content-strategy-for-fast-cheap-and-secure/html/indhold.htm.

[17] See Proposal for Swedish broadband strategy, available at: http://www.pts.se/upload/documents/en/proposed_broadband_strategy_eng.pdf.

[18] See Broadband Strategy for Sweden, available at: http://www.sweden.gov.se/content/1/c6/13/49/80/112394be.pdf.

[22] See Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: 2005 White Paper (p. 1) (translated)http://www.soumu.go.jp/johotsusintokei/whitepaper/ja/h17/pdf/H3030000.pdf and Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: National Broadband Deployment Report. September, 2008 (translated). http://www.soumu.go.jp/main_sosiki/joho_tsusin/broadband/broadbandstrategy/seibi.pdf

[23] Cited from Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan (p. 156). Letter from Young Kyu Noh, Minister Counselor of Broad. & ICT, Embassy of the Republic of Korea, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, GN Docket Nos. 09-47, 09-51, 09-137 (Feb. 3, 2010) Attach. at 3, 6 (The 1.5–2M[bps] class high-speed network was completely established in 2008 with a goal of minimum 50Mbps to 95% of households by 2013; also shows that Korea served 99% of population with 1Mbps service by 2008.)

[25] According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau projections, the population is expected to be 341,387,000 in 2020. Persons per household is based on 2000 census. http://www.census.gov/population/www/projections/files/nation/summary/np2008-t1.xls and http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.htmlGeorge S. Masnick and Eric S. Belsky from the Joint Center for Housing Studies Harvard University project 135,689,381 total households in 2020 in their report Revised Interim Joint Center Household Projections Based Upon 1.2 Million Annual Net Immigrants, March 2006 http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/publications/markets/n06-1_masnick.pdf.

[26] Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Four year time series data, penetration (June 2009). Available at: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/22/12/39574779.xls

 

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