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Sweden Is Most Networked Country; U.S. Standing Slips

Mar 26, 2010

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Reported by

Laura Sydell

Related Topics at NPR.org

The United States is slipping further down the list of networked nations.  A report just released by the World Economic Forum, the folks who bring us the yearly Davos conference, ranks the U.S. fifth among networked nations. Back in 2005 we were number one.

Sweden toped the list followed by Singapore, Denmark, and Switzerland. The report measured things like how much venture capital is around, how good is our science and math education and how many people are connected to the Internet.

The US ranked  22 among the percentage of people who have broadband subscriptions and number 48 on the quality of our science and math education. This seems rather distressing for a nation that invented the Internet. 

And one more zinger of a number: I know you think everyone's chatting away on the cell in every car and every restaurant, but the US ranked 72 in the number of mobile phone subscriptions. 

Of course it's a lot easier to connect smaller nations like Sweden and Singapore. And the report had a few laudatory remarks about the US.  It still considers it one of the most innovative countries as reflected by the number of patents it produces.

These latest figures are likely to give the Federal Communications Commissions recently released National Broadband Plan a bit of a boost. The Commission has set out guidelines as to how to get the entire nation connected to high speed Internet.  The FCC is likely going to need some help to get full support from Congress and the full commission behind the plan.  This report sure gives them something to holler about. 

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