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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Friday, June 29, 2007

    True or False: U.S.'s Broadband Penetration Is Lower Than Even Estonia's

    Although President George W. Bush promised during his re-election campaign that all Americans would have access to affordable broadband by 2007, many rural Americans have no way to connect. It's impossible to tell how many, in part because of the bizarre way the FCC measures the issue: if just a single building in an entire ZIP code is connected—a library, a school, a business—then all people in the area are counted as having access, even if there's no cable and their phone company won't give them DSL. (Because the signal deteriorates over distance, the telcos find it prohibitively expensive to offer the service to customers in far-flung areas.) Many rural homes can theoretically get broadband by satellite dish, but the cost is high and the service not as fast as other alternatives. In any case, a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that fewer than one in four rural Americans has high-speed connections at home, compared with about 40 percent of suburban and urban dwellers. (A more recent survey pegs total U.S. penetration at 50 percent; South Korea's is 90 percent.)

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