In the latest of a series of workshops on the development of a national broadband plan, the FCC on Tuesday hosted a panel of experts from academia, foreign government officials, and industry analysts who offered a range of opinions on the role of international comparisons in the development of a U.S. national broadband strategy. In opening remarks, FCC International Bureau (IB) research director Irene Wu told the panelists that the IB is gathering data on international broadband strategies, global pricing, adoption and demographics, as she noted that many of the 30 countries reviewed thus far by the IB have national broadband plans in place that include geographic targets as well as goals for speed and adoption. Many of these nations, according to Wu, have already met their initial goals and are now developing “second generation” broadband strategies that, in South Korea and in Finland, for example, envision national download and upload speeds of 1 Gbps by 2012 and 100 Mbps by 2015, respectively. Although Yochal Benkler, a co-director of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, recommended that the FCC analyze international data for common, best practices “with the understanding that none of these are perfect,” Information Technology & Innovation Foundation President Robert Atkinson emphasized differences in population density, geography, industry structure, digital literacy and PC adoption that would complicate the process of comparing broadband experiences across nations. Young Kyu Noh, an official of the South Korean embassy, attributed the success of broadband in his country (in which adoption rates and available speeds exceed those of the U.S.) to annual action plans prepared by every government ministry that specify how each ministry would spur broadband deployment, adoption and use. Atkinson testified that “the U.S. has the longest [average] loop lengths of any OECD country,” which would make deployment of broadband throughout the U.S. more expensive and difficult. In spite of such difficulties, however, Atkinson also suggested that the U.S. is not spending enough on broadband deployment, as he proclaimed: “if we were to match what Sweden did on a GDP basis, we’d have to invest $30 billion.”