Advanced Television

Study: US leads Europe in broadband

April 22, 2021

According to research from trade body USTelecom | The Broadband Association, which brings together connectivity providers and technology innovators, the US leads the European Union (EU) in broadband deployment and adoption, while outpacing Europe on key investment and competition measurements as well.

The study, US vs. EU Broadband Trends (2012-2019), debunks a persistent myth that the EU’s more intensive framework for broadband regulation has yielded a superior online experience for consumers and ought to be replicated in the US.

The USTelecom report points to the exact opposite conclusion. The data indicates the US approach – specifically, a collaborative public-private policy framework that incentivises capital-intensive private investment over government regulation – has not only delivered a more competitive US broadband marketplace than Europe, it has also fuelled additional benefits, including declining US broadband prices, superior network resilience, and the ability for consumers to more fully utilise digital tools and resources.

“As Washington dives into the broadband infrastructure debate, this new report should be instructive to policymakers about what works – and what doesn’t work – when it comes to bridging the digital divide and delivering 21st century connectivity to more Americans,” suggests USTelecom President and CEO Jonathan Spalter. “To those who think more regulations and more government thumb on the scale intervention is the right approach, I say just look to Europe, which chronically lags the United States in broadband deployment, adoption, investment and competition.”

Among the report’s key findings:

  • The US handily leads EU in both broadband infrastructure deployment and broadband adoption—at all speeds;
  • Significant deployment advantage: US leads EU by 12 percentage points at 30 Mbps; 25 point lead for ≥100 Mbps;
  • Significant adoption advantage: US leads EU by 9 percentage points at 30 Mbps; 21 point lead for ≥100 Mbps;
  • US infrastructure advantage is most significant in rural areas where it leads EU by more than 20 points at 30 Mbps;
  • Broadband providers invest substantially more in US versus EU infrastructure (more than three times per household – about $700 per home each year);
  • US consumers enjoy twice the facilities-based competition as their EU counterparts.

“It’s no contest,” asserts Spalter. “If the US had followed the EU’s more regulatory broadband path, our digital divide would be substantially bigger and our shared networks considerably less prepared for the traffic demands of the pandemic and our increasingly connected economy.”

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