TechCrunch TV: Bennett v Feld on State of US Broadband

Don’t miss the debate between our fair editor Richard Bennett and Harold Feld on TechCrunch TV (charmingly titled “Does American Broadband Suck?”)

Host Andrew Keen was intrigued by Richard’s recent piece in TechCrunch, disputing arguments peddled by Susan Crawford et al about inferior US broadband networks (arguments always accompanied by cries for more regulation).  Andrew invited Richard and Harold Feld to debate the issue.

Richard argues that complaints about broadband, including those in Susan Crawford’s book, are based on outdated 2009 data on broadband connection speeds.  There have been dramatic improvements since then.  Where the U.S. ranked 22nd in 2009, it is now 8th.  Richard suggests it is most apt to compare the U.S. to Europe are the most apt, since Europe has more similar population density and distribution than, say, Korea (think high-rise apartments), and the U.S. is doing  much better against Europeans, to the point where their regulators are now looking our way to see what the U.S. is doing right.

Feld does not dispute any of this, but focuses on concerns about rural broadband.  In other words, he doesn’t really defend the more sweeping assertions about U.S. broadband performance made by Crawfordites.

It’s slow-going, disseminating facts about this issue.  To paraphrase Twain, doomsaying can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.