by Roslyn Layton, Michael Horney
Mercatus Center
August 14, 2014
Working Paper Series
In recent years various media have claimed that America is falling behind in high-speed broadband Internet, that Americans pay more for broadband of lower quality than people in other countries, and that American broadband providers don’t compete, innovate, or invest. The EU, Japan, and South Korea, not the United States, are said to be leading in these areas. This paper investigates a variety of datasets to see whether there is evidence for these claims. The paper demonstrates not only that the United States performs well on many broadband measures, but that claims about the United States falling behind are inconsistent with American leadership in the digital economy where broadband networks are an essential, though not the only, input. Based on these conclusions, the paper provides policy analysis on broadband network deployment and suggestions on adoption, the arguably more important—but frequently overlooked—component of broadband.

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