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FCC Disputes Low U.S. Household Broadband Penetration

14 May, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission May 13 downplayed a recent international study that ranked the United States 15th in the world for broadband household penetration.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development issued a report stating that while the United States had the largest broadband market in 2007 among OECD member countries with more than 66 million subscribers, household penetration ranked behind countries such as Denmark (No. 1), Holland, Switzerland, South Korea, Iceland and Finland, among others.

In a public statement, FCC commissioner Deborah Tate said the OECD study did not take into account household size and population densities, among other factors.

Tate cited South Korea, whose high population density would require combining the state populations of Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky.

“It's easier to achieve a high [household] penetration in Manhattan than Mississippi,” Tate said.

Regardless, Tate said the FCC had eased regulatory restrictions that included re-classifying broadband services and making it easier for telecommunications companies to distribute video content, among other services.

Tate said increased broadband availability would have a $134 billion economic impact in 2008.

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