The Case for Universal Broadband

Remember the days of “dial-up” access to the internet? Glad you’ve got high-speed cable or DSL? Consider yourself lucky: millions of Americans don’t. The U.S. ranks 15th in the world in broadband penetration -- a failure with “enormous economic, social and cultural costs,” according to a new study.

In 2004, President George W. Bush announced a goal of universal broadband access to the Internet "in every corner of America by the year 2007." But a report by the non-profit Center for Creative Voices in Media confirms that hasn’t happened – in fact, in the last three years the U.S. has slipped in the rankings from 10th to 15th.

What’s more, speeds of typical U.S. lines, which barely handle small windows for video clips, are dramatically slower than those in countries like Japan or South Korea. And rural and low-income households are far less likely to have a fast line than those in wealthier and urban communities.

The new study concludes that the lagging broadband capabilities have cost the U.S. billions of dollars in added economic development and over a million newly-created high-paying jobs.