Has U.S. broadband subscriber growth stalled?

The U.S. ranked near the middle of 34 developed and developing nations measured by the number of wired broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, according to new research from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD is an international organization that promotes policies aimed at improving the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

The U.S. has about 28.8 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants, according to the OECD, giving the country a ranking of 15 out of 34 OECD nations, behind 12 European countries, Canada and Korea. The top 5 countries were Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Korea and France, all of which had at least 36 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants. Data was collected as of year-end 2012.

The U.S. saw an increase of 1.5% in broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants between June 2012 and December 2012, ranking it in the middle of the pack there, too. Thirteen European countries, Mexico and Chile saw greater growth. Mexico topped the list with a 5.2% increase in broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in the six-month study period, followed by Greece, Poland, Slovak Republic and Portugal. All of those countries had six-month growth rates of at least 3.9%.

In looking at broadband connectivity per 100 inhabitants, the OECD also collected data about the type of technology used – and there was considerable variation from one country to another. While the U.S. and Canada had more cable than DSL subscribers, DSL subscriptions outnumbered cable subscriptions in most other countries. Meanwhile Asian countries Korea and Japan had the highest percentage of broadband subscribers using fiber. Both countries have more subscribers on fiber than on all other broadband technologies combined.


Several European countries also have relatively high percentages of total broadband subscribers on fiber. Sweden, Estonia and Slovak Republic had between 30% and 40% of total broadband subscribers using fiber.

In the U.S. that percentage was 7.4%, giving the U.S. a ranking of 21 out 34 OECD countries.

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