"We are failing to bring the benefits of broadband to all our citizens, and the consequences will resonate for generations," said Ben Scott, policy of director of Free Press. "There is no justification for America's declining status as a global Internet leader. Instead of more excuses, it's time for true national broadband policy that will put America's digital future back on track."
According to the OECD report, the United States ranks 20th out of 30 nations in the growth rate of broadband penetration over the past year.
"The growing digital divide between the United States and the rest of the world will have real-world consequences," said S. Derek Turner, research director of Free Press. "The growth trends indicate that the United States is likely to continue to fall behind the rest of the world in broadband penetration, which will have lasting and significant effects on U.S. economic performance on the global stage."
Free Press analysis of the OECD data found:
At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing tomorrow on communications, broadband and competitiveness, Free Press, Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America will urge Congress to pursue a comprehensive national broadband policy that enhances competition, protects free speech, expands opportunities to bring new providers into the marketplace, and uses economic incentives to stimulate investment in underserved areas.
"The status quo is unacceptable," Scott said. "If we watch and wait, trusting that today's marketplace will magically solve the broadband problem, the United States will slip further behind the rest of the world, and the digital divide will widen -- both domestically and internationally. These consequences are too severe to tolerate."
The new OECD data can be found here.