I’m a big fan of the Netflix show, House of Cards, and eagerly awaited the start of Season 2 with so many other faithful fans. So, this week’s op-ed by AEI’s Visiting Fellow Roslyn Layton, based on her report on the same topic, caught my immediate interest when she started with a reference to viewers’ access needs for the show. In her recently released report, she presents a study of how next generation broadband networks in the U.S. compare to those in the EU—a factor that certainly impacts the delivery of the services we all enjoy.
What Layton discovers in her research is that the U.S. now exceeds the EU on several fronts. There is far more investment in the U.S.; per capita investment in broadband in the U.S. is now twice that of Europe, and it continues to grow. In the EU, 4G/LTE only reaches 26% of the population, while in the U.S., one company alone can reach 90% of the population. In terms of cost, when taxes and other extra costs are added, Americans actually pay less for broadband, Layton discovers. But the most interesting difference she presents is the broadband measure of speed—one that is often cited in comparisons to other countries. She states, “Data from both the U.S. and EU demonstrate that the U.S. exceeds the EU on a number of important broadband measures, including prevalence of speeds of 100 Mbps or greater and availability of cable, LTE, and Fiber to the Home (FTTH). All told, 74% of Europeans rely on DSL for broadband, whereas only 34% of Americans do.”
I thought the information Layton offers is quite interesting, particularly her concluding remark that indicates that EU leaders are now abandoning their approach and looking at the U.S. broadband model of infrastructure-based competition and private investment.