The U.S. is often thought as a leader in many aspects of the computer industry, but there is one area where it is falling behind rapidly. With broadband penetration, the U.S. has reached about 84 million people, an increase of 24 million from a year prior. While that's quite a lot of people, it only amounts to about 45% of the population. It leaves the U.S. behind approximately 20 other countries according to the ITU:
The International Telecommunications Union lists the U.S. as 21st worldwide for broadband penetration rate in 2005. Point Topic shows the United States is in 20th place by number of households with broadband access and in 19th by individual broadband access. Those ranks have been falling, not rising, in recent quarters.
Why would rates slow down? Why would the U.S. lose positions? While some may argue that it is due to the low population density given the size of the nation, the world's leader in penetration, Finland, has an even lower population density. The U.S. also has, on average, a more youthful population than countries that surpass them. So where did the slip up come from? Most likely, it comes from the insistence of just about any ISP focusing on making money quickly rather than expanding their services. When there's no real incentive for an ISP to double or triple its customer base, why should they? The article brings out all these points and more, and is an interesting look at how even a very modern and very connected country can slip in the extremely fast paced IT world.