fiberopticThere are now nine developed countries in which more than half of fixed internet users are connected by fiber, according to research  from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — but the U.S. is not among them. Instead, the U.S. ranked 28th on that metric among 37 countries studied, with less than 20% of fixed internet users connected by fiber. The average for the 37 countries studied was 27%. The data about about fiber connectivity by country was collected for the second quarter of 2019.

The country with the highest percentage of people connected by fiber was Korea (above 80%). Other countries with more than 50% of users connected by fiber were Japan, Lithuania, Sweden, Latvia, Spain, Iceland, Finland and Norway. One year earlier only six countries had more than 50% of fixed internet users connected by fiber.

Overall, the number of fiber subscriptions in the 37 countries studied increased 13.8%.

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Mobile Penetration
The U.S. ranked 4th in mobile broadband penetration, according to OECD, behind Japan, Finland and Estonia, and just ahead of Australia, according to an update to the OECD’s broadband portal. U.S. mobile penetration was 150%. The U.S. ranked fifth in similar research from OECD in 2017. Mobile broadband subscriptions continue to grow at about 7% per year.

The U.S. also ranked fourth in the number of machine-to-machine (M2M) SIM cards, which was at the top of all OECD indicators, with a 30% increase in one year. The leading countries are Sweden with 140.6 M2M SIM cards per 100 inhabitants, followed by Austria, Italy, the United States and the Netherlands. OECD credited the high number of M2M SIM cards provided by Sweden in part to the use of these SIM cards in other countries by a Swedish operator.

Among other findings from the OECD report about fiber connectivity by country:

  • Across the 37 countries examined, the share of fiber in total broadband has only risen slightly, to 27% as of second quarter 2019, from 24% a year earlier, reflecting the still large gap between countries in rolling out the technology.
  • Cable broadband represents 33.6% of all fixed broadband connections in the study countries. It remains stable, with a slight increase of 4.3% over the one-year study period.
  • DSL’s share of fixed broadband connections has fallen from 41.6% to 35.1% in two years.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.

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