Despite leading the world in broadband subscribers, the US dropped from 17th to 20th place in broadband penetration over the past year (see Figures 1 & 2). Due to its slower growth rate the US fell behind Sweden, the UK, and even tiny Luxembourg in broadband uptake from March 2005 to March 2006, according to Point Topic. Meanwhile, US broadband penetration among active Internet users grew 1.34 percentage points to 73.1% in June 2006.
President Bush’s goal of universal broadband access for all Americans by 2007 appears to be overly optimistic, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The GAO study found that only 28% of Americans had broadband in 2005.
At its current growth rate of over 90% per year, China will pass the US in total broadband subscribers by late 2006 to become the largest broadband country in the world. The US has fallen to 19th overall in household broadband penetration, and is in danger of being passed by Slovenia in early 2007. Israel leads all Middle Eastern and African countries, and is the third country overall in broadband penetration. Hong Kong leads the Pacific Rim, with a broadband penetration rate of over 73%. Meanwhile, in December 2005 the US passed 65% in broadband penetration among active Internet users.
Worldwide, broadband penetration has reached 62% among Internet users, according to the “Face of the Web” survey by Ipsos-Insight. The annual survey found that while broadband penetration grew by 24% last year, narrowband connections still dominate many rural areas in Russia, India, Mexico, Brazil, France and the U.K. In February, broadband penetration among active Internet users in the U.S. grew by 0.55 percentage points to 56.29%. Narrowband penetration in US homes fell to 43.71% in February 2005.