I'm Jealous of Europe's Cheese, Not its Broadband
There’s something about traveling to Europe that makes an American like me wildly envious. Why can’t we have wine like theirs or pastries like theirs or take three-hour siestas like they do? Some even ask why we can’t have broadband like theirs. But when you compare broadband speed, investment, and ability in America and Europe, America is the place to be. 85 percent of Americans have access to networks that can deliver at least 100 Mbps. Only 54 percent of Europeans have access to at least 30 Mbps. That’s a huge chasm when you consider the sheer size and rural geography of America versus the more dense European Union. Europe also doesn’t invest as much in their networks. In 2012, the U.S. out-spent the European Union in broadband infrastructure by a solid 50 percent. As a result, our network delivered 97 percent of advertised broadband speeds compared to Europe’s 74 percent. We also one-up Europe on fiber penetration and wireless LTE (long-term evolution) access. In fact, on LTE, we offer nearly 96 percent coverage compared to Europe’s 26 percent making it a serious competitor to wireline broadband. And to top it all off, the U.S. offers the most affordable entry-level broadband of any OECD country. All of this led to Nellie Kroes, the European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, to say in 2013, “Europe can’t afford to fall behind, but we are. I don’t want to be the U.S., but I do think we could learn from them, celebrate risk and support innovation.” In reality, our broadband is the envy of Europe. It’s fast, it’s affordable, it’s durable, and it’s accessible almost anywhere. Sure, the Europeans have wonderful wines, impossibly delicate macaroons, and they’re celebrated nappers. But I’ll take our broadband any day.