U.S. Broadband Ranking Drops 25%

photo by Scott Beale/Laughing SquidStressing how little has happened to bridge the broadband divide in the past year, FreePress admonished the gov’t regarding the OECD’s recently released (tho dated December 2006) data on global broadband penetration. According to the latest data, the U.S. — which was 12th in June ’06 — has been leapfrogged by the likes of Japan, France, and Luxembourg and is now 15 (out of the 30 OECD nations):

“We are failing to bring the benefits of broadband to all our citizens, and the consequences will resonate for generations,” said Ben Scott, policy of director of Free Press. “There is no justification for America’s declining status as a global Internet leader. Instead of more excuses, it’s time for true national broadband policy that will put America’s digital future back on track.”

Scott will lay down the disappointing facts before the Senate Commerce Committee today, according to Katie @ GigaOm.

At SavetheInternet it’s time for action.

According to the OECD, less than 20 percent of the U.S. population has broadband access. It didn’t take this long for TV to gain such widespread usage and, in my opinion, broadband Internet access is paramount in importance in today’s world.

Nearly 400 cities and counties have developed or are planning muni wi-fi broadband. But in many cases — especially in larger cities such as Philly and SF — the task is insurmountable thanks to a lack of government initiative (or complacency w/ telecom duopoly and policy gridlock).

Congress MUST pass a bill in the vein of the McCain / Lautenberg 2005 Community Broadband Act and create and pass a new telecom bill as soon as possible.

Additionally, settle The Center for Public Integrity’s lawsuit (filed months ago) demanding data on broadband deployment from the FCC. What’s to hide?

UPDATE: Ben Scott’s testimony (.pdf).

photo by Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Interview: Drew Clark of Center for Public Integrity

Drew Clark is the Project Manager of the Center for Public Integrity’s “Well Connected” project, which has a goal of providing the most comprehensive reporting on the business and legislative influences behind information networks. We discussed the future of broadband, copyright and 2008 campaigning and reporting at the Knight New Media Conference on Covering Politics and Cyberspace.