The third-annual international study of the quality of broadband connections revealed that despite solid gains in global connectivity worldwide, the United States remained in 15th place. Based on a global ranking scale, the US places behind 14 countries "already prepared for the Internet applications of tomorrow."
The study, funded by Cisco and released by the Said Buisiness School at Oxford University, looked at seventy-two countries and 239 cities. Researchers determined overall broadband-quality scores by pairing download and upload throughput, and latency capabilities of the connection. When combined with broadband penetration figures for each country, a global leader board for connectivity emerged.
The United States' 15th place finish is shared with Latvia, France, and Canada. Though the U.S. has increased fixed-line customers' broadband access, which rose to 75% from 69% last year, other countries are making much larger leaps in the global race towards connectivity.
There are worries that despite steady gains and the implementation of the National Broadband Plan, the U.S. won't be fully prepared for new technologies on the horizon. According to Fernando Gil de Bernabe, senior director at Cisco, it may be difficult for U.S. citizens to take advantage of high-quality video communication services, and high-definition Internet television being developed.
South Korea continues to be the world leader in connectivity, with 100% broadband penetration and broadband quality rankings that rise annually. With its broadband superiority, South Korea also tops the report's list of Innovation-driven economies. As highlighted in the paper: "broadband leadership is strongly associated with competitiveness, knowledge economy and innovation."
The need for a robust Internet to power an innovative economy should be driving the U.S. to meet the goals of universal broadband access and greater speeds.