“Much attention has been given to the middling rank of US broadband penetration, which is lower than in several European countries or Japan. But this obscures the more fundamental, costly, and time-consuming platform upgrades that are taking place in the US.
In much of Europe, broadband is carried to the user’s home over the copper phone lines of the telephone companies, using a technology known as DSL. DSL is the cheap way to go and does not require much investment. But it is relatively limited in data capacity and range. In contrast, in the US broadband is in the process of increasingly being carried over fibre telecom lines and cable television networks, which are vastly more powerful.”
He concludes with the more societally subtle point that, as these two delivery infrastructures embed, they will bring with them greater regulation on the part of European countries lacking such a cable infrastructure – and greater competition in the US, where there will essentially be two competing networks. One will, through regulation, foster greater participation as entry costs will be monitored (despite the greater cost to the consumer). The other will be both more commercial and more dynamic.