Report: US falling behind on Internet access

The U.S. is falling behind when it comes to the availability and quality of access to the Internet, according to a report from The New York Times.

The U.S., which “invented the Internet, is falling dangerously behind in offering high-speed, affordable broadband service to businesses and consumers, according to technology experts and an array of recent studies,” the report said.

Despite increased attention from the Obama administration, which says it wants to increase the availability and quality of Internet access, people in the U.S. generally pay more for slower Internet than people in other countries, according to The New York Times.

The article points to “ample evidence” that better Internet access leads to economic growth.

“The White House cites a study of 33 of the largest national economies worldwide, which found that from 2008 to 2010, doubling a country’s broadband speed increased gross domestic product by 0.3 percent,” according to the report.

Additionally a White House report “says that since 2002, Internet access has contributed an average of $34 billion a year to the economy, or 0.26 percent of G.D.P. growth.”

The article compared Internet access in San Antonio, the seventh largest city in the country, to that of Riga, the capital of Latvia.

“Riga’s average Internet speed is at least two-and-a-half times that of San Antonio’s. … And the cost of Riga’s service is about one-fourth that of San Antonio.”

But some say the international comparisons are unfair.

“There aren’t any countries ahead of us that have a comparable population distribution,” Richard Bennett, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told The New York Times.