An anonymous reader writes "When It Comes To Broadband, U.S. Plays Follow The Leader says a story in IWeek. Their thesis is that, while broadband access in the United States rose from 60 million users in March 2005 to 84 million in March 2006, the US is well behind countries like England and China. Indeed, what you may not realize is that the U.S. ranks a surprisingly poor 12th in worldwide broadband access, a situation which could threaten its ability to maintain its technological lead. The federal government is no help: the FCC has almost no data on the rate of hi-speed adoption, or of what the speed and quality of those services are. Broadband is more expensive here than in other nations, as well, almost 10 times as expensive by some estimates. The cost and poor quality of service aren't from population density, aren't from lack of interest, and are not from lack of technical know-how. So, what is holding us back?