White House Report Says U.S. Broadband Is Pretty Darn Good

by Mike Wendy on June 14, 2013

The White House this morning released a new report, entitled Four Years of Broadband Growth, which, in a balanced and thoughtful way, details the state of U.S. broadband networks.  In short, while areas for improvement remain, I’d say the report gives America’s broadband providers and Internet ecosystem a solid B+ toward meeting growing consumer and societal demand.

Contrary to the caterwauls coming from the pro-regulatory crowd that our networks are somehow broken, this report should put paid to their fact-challenged assertions.  Clearly, the tone of the report is this: America’s largely privately funded Internet ecosystem is good and getting better.

Good report card, guys!

The following are some quotes from the report:

By nearly any metric the last four years have been a period of tremendous growth in broadband infrastructure, access, and the digital economy upon which they rely…

…The last four years have also been a period of significant transition in the needs of many broadband subscribers. Taking advantage of low barriers to entry and an open network, providers of cloud computing, remote processing, media-rich content and streaming video have created unprecedented demand for higher-bandwidth Internet services to businesses and households alike. That demand has driven substantial investment in high-speed facilities…

… Responding to the increasing consumer demand for services accessed through broadband, the private sector has been driving important advances in infrastructure and technology. U.S. telecommunications firms have made significant investments in infrastructure; for example, just two of the largest U.S. telecommunications companies account for greater combined stateside investment than the top five oil/gas companies, and nearly four times more than the big three auto companies combined. In fact, since President Obama took office in early 2009, nearly $250 billion in private capital has been invested in U.S. wired and wireless broadband networks. In just the last two years, more high-speed fiber cables have been laid in the United States than in any similar period since 2000. Moreover, during President Obama’s first term, the annual investment in U.S. wireless networks alone grew more than 40 percent from $21 billion to $30 billion.  Projections for 2013 estimate an annual wireless network investment at $35 billion.

These investments in broadband, along with the openness of the network, are part of a self-perpetuating cycle that coupled with increased broadband adoption and digital literacy skills training, have significantly improved access to higher-speed wireline and wireless broadband services, brought new users online and enabled the “App Economy,” a phenomenon that itself has driven demand for and deployment of even faster high-speed services…

4 Years Stats

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