Common wisdom is that the US is way behind developed Asian and European countries in Broadband (and also Mobility). Not quite so – says Professor Leonard Waverman of the London Business School, who published a study on the World’s Connectivity Scorecard. His key thesis is that penetration and connection speed is not enough to measure true connectedness: we have to consider to what extent the Consumer, Businesss and Government sectors put broadband to productive use.
The compound index reveals a few surprises: the USA is actually #1, closely followed by Sweden and Denmark. The fourth position is a surprise again ( at least for me): it’s Malaysia, leaving countries like Japan, Korea, Norway in the dust. To understand some of these surprises, let’s look at a few countries’ details.
Japan has a total score of 5.87: only the Consumer infrastructure is world-class but usage and skills are relatively poor in the sector, while in Business, where usage and skills are ate world-class levels, the infrastructure falls behind – and Government fares poorly in both.
Korea‘s overall score is only 4.17. Top-notch Consumer, OK Government infrastructure, poor Business infrastrucrure, and all sectors behind in skills.
Australia with a total of 6.14 presents the opposite case: it’s all about Business and Government, not Consumers:
(Ironically at this point in writing this post the Connecticity Scorecard site lost connectivity – perhaps brought down by their newly-found popolarity. )
Sweden leads Europe with a score of 7.47, and a well-rounded chart, but I wonder why super-connected Estonia is missing from the European list….
A surprise "winner" on the scorecard is Malaysia with an overall score of 7.07 – I certainly would not have expected them beating neighbor Singapore.
Finally, the USA tops the list with 7.71 and an almost well-rounded chart, except for that ugly dent on the Consumer infrastructure side:
Advance broadband penetration and usage in Business is a given – but Government? Really? I suppose the study only focused on access and usage, not necessarily results.. That Consumer infrastructure is nowhere, is not really a surprise, but I wonder how realistic this sector classification is. Just how "consumer" Consumer is?
Given the large number of small businesses, freelancers, home-office based virtual businesses, the underdeveloped Consumer infrastructure no doubt has a serious business impact as well.
I’m still craving for Japan-, Korea-, even Malaysia-like infrastructure in the US.
Update: Vinnie Mirchandani points out the serious flaws in the Study Methodology.