In a sort-of follow-up to my post on the deficit, I offer this New York Times Bits blog post on a study indicating that contrary to the hue and cry about the United States falling behind in broadband deployment, the U.S. is actually number one. As you might expect, it’s because the measurement is not of connectivity speed, nor is it of the percentage of homes with broadband. In these areas the U.S. does rank behind other countries. But with the “Connectivity Scorecard” devised by the researcher behind the study, the U.S. ranks number one, as its consumers, businesses and government supposedly are more efficient in the use of its broadband.
While conflicting budget numbers are a problem mostly because they can hide the nature of the nation’s financial health, these conflicting broadband measures try and hide a values or policy discussion behind numbers. If you find a study saying U.S. is number one in broadband, then you don’t worry about it and you certainly have little motivation to have a debate over what the nation should expect from broadband. Use the numbers as part of that debate, not as replacements for it.