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U.S. Trails Europe in Broadband Growth

With 58.1 million broadband subscribers, the United States has more high-speed-Internet surfers than any nation worldwide, but Western Europe is adding broadband subscribers at a faster rate, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

With the U.S. ranked 15th worldwide in broadband-deployment penetration of the 30 nations studied by the OECC -- trailing leader Denmark, which has a 31.9% broadband penetration rate -- the OECD report is sure to fuel debate at two Congressional hearings scheduled for Tuesday.

Foreign countries led broadband-penetration growth, with eight countries (Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Korea, Switzerland, Finland, Norway and Sweden) averaging at least 26 broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants in 2006, according to the OECD report.

While the United States has more cable-modem and digital-subscriber-line subscribers than any other nation, its broadband-subscriber count represents 29% of broadband connections in the OECD, down from 30% in June 2006.

The OECD report is expected to be a key topic of debate at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing Tuesday morning on broadband deployment and a House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Internet hearing on the “digital future of the United States.”