Cablecos, rather than telcos, are the leaders in the introduction of high-speed Internet services, according to a new study prepared for the Federal Communications Commission in Washington. The Canadian example is duplicated throughout most of the developed world, the report concludes. In Broadband Internet Access in OECD Countries: A Comparative Analysis, authors Sherille Ismail and Irene Wu looked at the deployment of broadband in 10 of the 30 nations that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The countries examined are South Korea, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, the United States, Switzerland, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. "Cable companies, rather than incumbent telecommunications carriers, have been the leaders in introducing broadband access services to OECD countries. This is true in markets such as Korea, Canada, and Belgium, where cable networks are extensive and cable companies are historically separate from telecommunications companies," Ismail and Wu write. "Once broadband access service has been introduced and proven to be a viable business, incumbent telecommunications carriers have responded by introducing DSL services that provided strong competition to the cable modem services." Canada had 2,008,566 cable modem subscribers by the end of 2002, with another 1,642,554 using DSL. That breaks down to a 55%-45% split in favour of cable. The total of 3,651,120 high-speed Internet users produces a ratio of 11.7 subscribers per 100 people. High-speed Internet access via cable exceeds DSL use in Canada, the U.S., Switzerland and the U.K. The FCC report notes that Canada has been one of the leaders in rolling out high-speed Internet. By the end of last year, 85% of Canadians had access to broadband, even though they live in areas that only make up 24% of Canadian communities. "Cable companies became global pioneers, offering cable modem services as early as 1966. Canadian cable companies pass 93% of all homes and have the potential to provide broadband access to six million homes," the authors write. "Incumbent telecommunications carriers, like Bell Canada, Telus, and SaskTel, also offered DSL services ahead of other countries. SaskTel, for instance, became the first carrier in the OECD to do so by offering DSL in November 1996." Canada also stands out in the rate structure for dial-up Internet and DSL services. It is the only country of the 10 surveyed that exclusively features unmetred local tele-phony and a flat Internet access pricing structure. Only half of the nations, including Canada, offer unmetred telecom access for dial-up. "Korea and Canada both have unmetred telecom access for dial-up Internet service and broadband access, although Korea has metered local telephony rates. These two countries have the highest level of broadband subscribership in our sample," Ismail and Wu note. "Further research is needed to clarify whether rate structure has an impact on consumer decisions to switch to broadband service."