Today many worry about two aspects of broadband in the U.S. when compared to other countries -- its adoption rate by consumers and available speeds (bandwidth). Comparable data across countries is difficult to obtain. The OECD and ITU publish cross-country adoption rates, but provide little information on how they come up with their estimates. Data on available speeds is even more problematic, given the number of providers and plans in many countries.
A new report released by Analysys Consulting Group and funded by AT&T sheds new light on the issue of broadband speeds across countries. The report finds that advertised speeds are typically higher than actual available speeds, and that the gap increases as advertised speeds increase. For example, according to the report,
The report suggests that actual speeds, as opposed to advertised speeds, seem to be fairly similar across advanced countries.
A problem with the analysis is that it only partially explains the methodology. For example, did testers in each country use similar equipment? How many tests were done in each country that were averaged into a country-wide estimate? What share of consumers have access to the tested service? What do providers charge for those services?
Nonetheless, despite its problems this study makes an important contribution to the question of how to compare bandwidth available to consumers across countries.