America gave birth to the Internet, but, notwithstanding this natal relationship, the U.S. isn’t No. 1 among all the countries of the world in terms of proportion of population with high-speed access to the massive network of networks. Or No. 2. Or even No. 3.
Measured by the number of wireline-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants dynamically reported by the International Telecommunication Union, Monaco ranked first among so-called developed countries in 2012 with 45.52, Switzerland ranked second with 41.86 and Netherlands ranked third with 39.44. Meanwhile, the U.S. was 19th with 28.03.
Of course, adding the wireless-broadband figure to the wireline-broadband number would boost the U.S. broadband-penetration ranking, but the country still wouldn’t make the top three on this basis.
New York among all the country’s states is like the U.S. among all the world’s nations with respect to broadband penetration: certainly not the best and certainly not the worst. Assessing the geopolitical entities on indicators of broadband adoption, economic structure and network quality, “Technet’s 2012 State Broadband Index” ranked the Empire State No. 10 with an index value of 119, which compares with an average of 100. (Washington was at the top with an index value of 152, and Arkansas was at the bottom with an index value of 64.)
High-speed access to the Internet in 2010 varied widely among households in New York’s 62 counties, ranging from 97 percent in the five counties constituting New York City to less than 1 percent in parts of Allegany, Chautauqua, Oneida, Saratoga and other counties, according to the New York State Broadband Program Office.
To determine whether, and which, broadband Internet service providers may be able to deliver the digital goods, New Yorkers can visit the home page of the NYS Broadband Mapping Project. If one enters the copy “350 5th Ave, New York, NY, 10001” in the relevant text field on the right-hand side of the page, then one can find that commercial tenants of the Empire State Building might be served by as many as 13 broadband ISPs in the following three categories:
- Wireline: Level 3 Communications, MegaPath, Time Warner Cable and Verizon New York.
- Wireless: AT&T Mobility, Clearwire, Sprint, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.
- Satellite: Hughes, Skycasters, StarBand Communications Inc. and ViaSat.
Americans outside New York can get similar data via the home page of the National Broadband Map.
Broadband ISP performance can vary wildly, so it’s nice to have a choice in vendors. (Personally, I have had three at the same home in this century alone.)