Europeans Envy U.S. Broadband


Why do some persist in negatively comparing U.S. broadband to Europe’s?   Roslyn Layton, a visiting fellow at AEI’s Center for Internet, Communications and Technology Policy (where our fair editor is also a visiting fellow) penned a good piece on the subject today based on her new report “The European Union’s Broadband Challenge.”  Some highlights:

“EU has only pockets of high speed networks and faces an investment shortfall of €110-170 billion ($150-230 billion) to reach its broadband goals” …

“A decade ago, the EU accounted for one-third of the world’s communications infrastructure capital expenditure. That amount has fallen to less than one-fifth today. Americans … account for 4% of the world’s population, but enjoy one-fourth the world’s broadband capex. In fact, per capita investment in the U.S. is twice that of Europe, and the gap is growing.”

And to the claim we pay more in the U.S. for broadband, as Roslyn points out in her report:

“Critics forget to include the impact of value added taxes (as high as 27% in some countries) and compulsory media license fees (adding hundreds of dollars per year to the cost of every broadband subscription).”

Sans VAT, we pay less.  The Europeans also envy our robust Internet economy, our prevalence of speeds of 100 Mbps or greater and cable, LTE, and Fiber to the Home (FTTH).   Nearly three-quarters of Europeans rely on DSL for broadband versus a little more than a third of Americans.

So much for the vaunted European broadband model.  What approach are many European leaders now advocating?  The American model of “infrastructure-based competition and private investment.”