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U.S. Broadband Deployment Concerns

About 71 million Americans will have broadband access by 2010, enabling 62 percent of U.S. residents to access high-speed Internet in five years, according to a Forrester Research study. That�s a pretty big leap from the 29 percent of Americans that had access to broadband last year. But the percentage expected for 2010 is well below this year�s rate for a variety of other countries, particularly South Korea, where 75 percent of households already have high-speed access. While South Korea is a much smaller country with an ideal infrastructure for widespread broadband, a delay of widespread broadband access in the United States means missed opportunities for economic growth, innovation, and investment.

But some analysts are alarmed by the U.S. lagging in broadband deployment. They note broadband access brings a variety of economic and cultural benefits. For example, the Forrester survey said households with broadband spend 31 percent more money online than dial-up households and spend more time on tech-based entertainment activities.

Despite last year�s U.S. broadband growth, the current level of access lags far behind almost a dozen countries. In a report last December that compared broadband penetration by country, the Organization for Economic Development Information and Communication Technologies (OEDICT) reported that the U.S. ranked No. 12 behind South Korea, Japan, Canada, and a handful of Western European countries.

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