Issue Overview

America's Internet Leadership

A world-changing product of American ingenuity, the Internet is a transformational technology that has revolutionized education, commerce, and communications. Broadband Internet networks, bolstered by infrastructure investments from cable, offer ultrafast connections that provide instantaneous access to a wealth of information and robust online services.  Indeed, private companies have invested $1.2 trillion to build and maintain broadband networks since the mid-1990’s and the rate of investment shows no sign of slowing. 

By any objective measure, the U.S. is a global leader in availability, affordability and quality of the fiber-rich broadband networks that are available in nearly every community. According to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founder of the World Wide Web and the World Wide Web Foundation, the U.S. ranks second, just behind Sweden, in its progress and use of the Web.  North America has the highest Internet availability of any region in the world and leads in global adoption of 4G LTE wireless mobile broadband.

Americans enjoy robust competition between wired and wireless providers and entry-level pricing for American broadband is second lowest in the world.  The U.S. has long been a leader in the total number of Wi-Fi hotspots which have become an important part of extending the broadband experience well beyond the home.

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Our Position

Interactive Time Line

        1990-2013

The rate of broadband deployment and adoption in America is nothing short of impressive.

  • 1990
    90

    Average Internet speed 56 kbps

    Pioneering trials of cable modem technology conducted in PA, MA, and CA

  • 1994
    94

    Oct

    Netscape browser released – the Internet immediately became vastly more accessible

  • 1996
    96

    Telecommunications Act of 1996 enacted

    Residential broadband services introduced to American consumers by Time Warner Cable (OH) and TCI (CA)

  • 1997
    97

    18% of U.S. Households have dial-up service, 0.1% have broadband

  • 1999
    99

    1 million customers subscribe to cable broadband

  • 2001
    01

    Sept

    Over 50% of U.S. Households are online, 41.2% have dial-up, 9.1% have broadband

  • 2002
    02

    Internet adoption at 63% of American adults

  • 2003
    03

    34.5% of U.S. Households have dial-up, 20% have broadband

  • 2005
    05

    68% of Americans have Internet service

  • 2007
    07

    Netflix introduced Internet streaming service

    50% of U.S. Households have broadband service

  • 2008
    08

    Comcast launches DOCSIS 3.0 service in serveral markets offering a 50 Mbps speed tier

  • 2009
    09

    Internet adoption at 79% of all American adults

  • 2010
    10

    Cable broadband reaches 93% of U.S. Households

    iPad Launched

  • 2011
    11

    Several cable broadband providers introduce 100+ Mbps tiers. Cable invests $13 billion in infrastructure 

  • 2012
    12

    Sept

    Comcast introduces 305 Mbps throughout most major markets in its Northeast 

    72% of U.S. households have broadband, 50 million customers subscribe to cable broadband

  • 2013
    13

    Cable has invested $200 billion in networks and infrastructure since 1996.

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EXPLORE THE TIMELINE V
FACT
900%

Standard cable broadband speeds have increased 900% since 1999.

The Rise of Broadband Speeds [Click to Enlarge]

Broadband Speeds Chart

Assessment

FACT
200K

Number of cable-provided wi-fi hotspots nationwide as of September 2013.

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