Phoenix: Top 9 Ranking Should Be Measure Of Broadband Plan Success

Telecom think tank lays out measure of success for plan

The Phoenix Center says that at least a six-spot improvement for the U.S. in the international broadband rankings according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (the U.S. is currently 15th according to per capita subscriptions) would be a success for the FCC's national broadband plan.

That is according to an economic analysis by the telecom think tank, which found that the country would have to at least crack the top 10 (ninth place) within two-three years for administration policies, including $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus funding and the FCC's just-announced national broadband plan, to be labeled a success. ""[A] top 10 position is not only desirable, but also required to conclude statistically speaking) that the Obama Administration's policies have been successful, at least when viewed through the lens of per capita subscription rankings," Phoenix concluded.

The OECD ranking methodology has been criticized, including by Phoenix, which says it has "deep analytical defects." But the rankings have been invoked frequently by Hill Democrats and others critical of the pace of broadband deployment under the Bush Administration. "As we point out in our prior research, relying upon the OECD's flawed methodology as an accurate metric of a country's broadband performance is fraught with peril," said Phoenix Center President and study co-author Lawrence J. Spiwak in announcing the study. "However, as some policymakers continue to use the OECD's methodology as the definitive broadband metric, our analysis establishes a performance metric by which to assess the success or failure of new broadband interventions using the OECD's rankings."

Given current trends, says Phoenix, the country would improve to 13th in two-three years without any policy changes.