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The availability of broadband Internet access varies greatly between countries and between urban and rural areas within countries. Reasons for the differences including the following: 

  • telephone and cable infrastructure
  • government policies
  • degree of urbanization
  • competition and pricing

Countries such as Canada have benefited from a well established and utilized cable TV network. Korea enjoys high broadband availability largely due to supportive government policies. Regions with large urban areas such as Hong Kong and Korea have been able to take advantage of broadband technologies such as DSL that have inherent distance restrictions. Countries that have not had telephone and cable monopolies such as the USA, have benefited from competition among broadband service providers and relatively low prices.

The following diagram from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) illustrates the degree of broadband penetration among the leading broadband countries. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is an international organization within the UN that coordinates global telecom networks and services.
 

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