Out of Control Policy Blog

Your Mother Always Told You Not To Believe the Ads

That broadband users in Japan, South Korea and elsewhere get 100 Mb/s downloads has become a mantra of those who say we need government intervention if the U.S. is ever to catch-up. Last month's PBS report by Bill Moyers that generally lamented the state of U.S. telecom policy was only the latest to invoke the Japanese.

But wait a minute! Has anyone ever verified these claims? Well, a new report from the respected firm Anaylys Consulting debunks much of the claim that Europe and Asia have moved substantially ahead of the U.S. by comparing the actual speeds consumers in those countries get, which are actually much lower and much closer to the U.S. norm.

Trouble is, all those broadband doomsayers have been relying on advertised claims. What the AT&T-funded study found is that the actual average download speeds for incumbents is 19 Mb/s in Japan and South Korea and 10 Mb/s in Sweden. This compares to 8 Mb/s available via cable modems in the U.S.

Analysis adds:

This disparity holds true of the non-incumbent providers as well. In France and Italy, the alternate xDSL providers advertise similar speeds to the incumbents and actually deliver roughly the same percentage of this speed as the incumbents. In Sweden and Japan, the alternate fiber carriers advertise speeds that are roughly two to four times as fast as the incumbents (100Mbit/s in each country), but deliver only 60% of that speed in Sweden and 35% in Japan.

The full report can be found here.

A tip of the hat to Scott Wallsten at the PFF blog for the heads-up.


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