Despite all the bad things we hear about U.S. broadband, a new study commissioned by Europe's Nokia Siemens Networks has awarded top marks to America's Internet connectivity.
It's no secret that the U.S. lags behind other countries in terms of Internet speeds. Whereas Comcast is still in the process of spreading a pricy 50Mbps service across its service area, affordable 100Mbps connections are commonplace in countries like Japan, Korea, and Finland. So, what made the author of the study—Professor Leonard Waverman of the London Business School—award such a good score to the U.S.?
Apparently, the Scorecard melds data for both connectivity and economic performance in order to get a more complete picture. Here's an excerpt from the website's FAQ page:
The Connectivity Scorecard is an attempt to capture how "usefully connected" countries around the world really are. Like any Scorecard, ours is essentially a collection of different metrics, but our metrics encompass usage and skills as well as infrastructure. Further, . . . we give business - and those measures related to business infrastructure and usage - the weight that economic statistics suggest it should be given. And, where possible, we do this based on individual country data for each country. Likewise, we link the weight given to infrastructure metrics relative to usage and skills to economic statistics for individual countries.
The study gives U.S. broadband a 7.71 score: government and businesses make good use of the Internet and have a good infrastructure, although the consumer infrastructure leaves something to be desired. By contrast, Japan gets just 5.87 despite excellent consumer infrastructure, because government and consumer usage purportedly lag behind the U.S.'s, as do business and government infrastructures. Sweden, Denmark, and Malaysia all scored in the 7-7.5 range, however. (Thanks to Gizmodo for the tip.)