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Highlights

Increasingly, broadband Internet service is seen as critical to a nation's physical infrastructure and economic growth. Universal access to, and increased use and adoption of, broadband service are policy goals stated in the National Broadband Plan, which the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released in March 2010. Some recent studies indicate that despite achieving nearly 95 percent broadband deployment and globally competitive adoption rates, the United States has moved from the top to the middle of the international rankings. Other developed countries, which have made universal access and increased adoption priorities, rank higher than the United States in these areas, and their experiences may be of interest to U.S. policymakers. GAO was asked to address (1) the status of broadband deployment and adoption in developed countries, (2) actions selected countries have taken to increase deployment and adoption, and (3) how recommendations in the National Broadband Plan align with the selected countries' actions. GAO analyzed relevant information for 30 developed countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and visited 7 of these countries selected for their broadband policies and economic or demographic characteristics. GAO also interviewed public- and private-sector contacts in these countries and FCC officials. FCC provided technical comments on this report.

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