The United States comes out on top in The Connectivity Scorecard. A Canadian academic, Leonard Waverman, ranks 25 developed countries. The biggest reason is that business in the United States has made extensive use of computers and the Internet and it has a technically skilled workforce.
Waverman’s Connectivity Scorecard, using slick Flash graphics, enables you to scroll through each country’s ratings. It takes into account not just pure infrastructure statistics, but looks at how broadband is actually used in three main areas: at home, in businesses and by the government. While the US domestic broadband percentage lags (especially in rural areas), a disproportionately high usage of the high-speed web at work and government is enough to push us to number one, in Waverman’s view.
To see the full methodology, look at page 38 in this report (pdf, above).
According to the NY Times, even after deducting the untold unproductive hours spent on Facebook and YouTube, business in the United States has made extensive use of computers and the Internet and it has a technically skilled workforce.
While Japan’s fiber connections can deliver Gigabit speeds to the home, and South Korea’s percentage of homes with broadband connections are higher, businesses in Korea don’t use the best networks and don’t have the skills and computing assets they need to take advantage of them,” Mr. Waverman said.
According to Waverman’s scorecard, even the world’s most advanced economies are not exploiting the full potential of connectivity. That results in poorer access to public services and limits to the availability of education.
The noise about a broadband gap is hooey”, opines Saul Hansell in the NY Times. The Obama administration is planning to spend $6 billion on wiring rural areas and urban centers. Buy, says Hansell, “it is hardly clear that the country would get an adequate return from subsidizing what is essentially duplicate capacity.”