Matthew Yglesias has some interesting observations about broadband penetration and population density.

There is a huge urban-rural divide in the United States over broadband availablity and quality. In some rural areas, broadband remains hard to get, and in urban areas its not as good (in terms of speed) as what’s currently available in Korea and Japan.

As anyone who has followed the broadband rollout here knows, what Yglesias says about the United States also applies in the United Kingdom, despite this being a much smaller country geographically. Some remote places are only now getting hooked up, and some UK service providers are flogging 128Kbps connections as “broadband”.

Yglesias says American policy has, over the years facilitated American-style low-density life by subsidising the infrastructure necessary to sustain it. What is required now, he argues, is “the 21st century equivalent of the Interstate Highway System and creating a proper IT infrastructure out there.” Quite right.