US ranks 20th in global broadband household penetration

JUNE 19, 2009 -- Sixty percent of U.S. households accessed the Internet via broadband in 2008, according to Strategy Analytics, compared to 95% of South Korean households.

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JUNE 19, 2009 -- Sixty percent of U.S. households accessed the Internet via broadband in 2008, according to a report by analyst firm Strategy Analytics (search Lightwave for Strategy Analytics), compared to 95% of South Korean households. This number puts the United States in 20th place out of 58 leading countries worldwide.

Five of the top ten scorers in the Strategy Analytics rankings are Asian countries, underlining the rapid broadband growth in the region. In its recently published report, "Global Broadband Forecast: 1H'2009," the firm predicts that the subscriber base in the Asia-Pacific region will grow on average by a further 15% per year between 2009 and 2013.

South Korea's dominance in broadband penetration is attributable in part to its highly urbanized population, as well as to the existence of a comprehensive government-backed broadband policy.

David Mercer, principal analyst and vice president at Strategy Analytics, admits that country-level broadband rankings are not without their share of controversy.

"Broadband rankings are often the subject of great debate and hand-wringing," notes Mercer. "Though our rankings may differ from those of other organizations, it is because we are looking at the appropriate metrics."

Household broadband penetration, rather than per-capita broadband penetration, is the appropriate measurement, according to Strategy Analytics. "In far too many cases, people are looking at the wrong things," says analyst Ben Piper, director of the Strategy Analytics multiplay market dynamics service. "Residential broadband is overwhelmingly consumed on a household basis -- not individually. Reporting broadband penetration on a per-capita basis misses the mark and can provide grossly misleading results."

According to the report, 2009 doesn't look much better for the US. The firm estimates that the US will fall to 23rd place worldwide this year.


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