WASHINGTON D.C. - Scott Wallsten, Director of Communications Policy Studies at The Progress and Freedom Foundation, today released slides from a presentation titled "Everything You Hear About Broadband in the U.S. is Wrong." Wallsten is critical of OECD numbers that suggest that America's position in international broadband rankings is declining. Wallsten's analysis comes as Congress and The Federal Communications Commission are considering in greater detail broadband data collection and public-private initiatives.
Wallsten challenges the conventional wisdom about the international rankings and says they should not be used as a basis for making policies.
"First, the OECD data are unreliable and misleading. More careful analyses show that the U.S. actually compares quite favorably to the rest of the world in terms of household broadband penetration. Second, comparisons of actual - as opposed to advertised - bandwidth across countries reveal that broadband speeds in the U.S. are similar to most other advanced countries."
Wallsten also stressed that rankings by themselves are not meaningful, and that "smart policies should be based on sound data analysis, not on handwringing over arbitrary rankings," he said. Most importantly, "We should carefully analyze the available data in ways that control for factors policies cannot affect, like population density, and test the effects of factors that policies may influence, such as the level of platform competition."
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.