U.S. lagging in broadband adoption, speed: FCC report

WASHINGTON Fri May 20, 2011 7:43pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States continues to lag behind other countries in broadband adoption and download speeds, according to a report released by the Federal Communications Commission on Friday.

Based on broadband data from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development member countries, the United States ranked ninth out of 29 countries for mobile broadband adoption on a per capita basis, and 12th out of 33 countries for percentage of households with fixed broadband, the FCC said.

The United Kingdom, South Korea and Iceland were among countries to top the United States' 63 percent broadband adoption rate.

Extending affordable Internet access to all Americans is a priority of the FCC. The agency released its National Broadband Plan last year, a blueprint for expanding coverage, making more airwaves available for mobile services and upgrading Internet speeds up to 25 times the current average.

Consumers in some large European and Asian cities reported faster download speeds than consumers in comparable U.S. cities, the report released Friday said.

For instance, average download speed was found to be 11.7 Mbps in New York with a population of nearly 8.4 million people compared with 35.8 Mbps for the 10 million residents of Seoul, South Korea, the report said.

The FCC is required to annually present international broadband data, reflecting broadband service capability in cities around the world.

But the agency acknowledged that gaps and variations in data collection methodologies across countries prevent any definitive conclusions from being made.

Therefore, the report also detailed efforts by the FCC, along with the State Department and Commerce Department, to work with OECD to make more reliable, standardized data available and less expensive to collect.

(Reporting by Jasmin Melvin; Editing by Gary Hill)

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