Where the US leads the rest of the planet usually follows – but not, it seems, in the use of broadband internet access.

The country has ranked a disappointing eleventh place in the world broadband league, coming behind, among others, Japan, Korea and neighbours Canada.

Says Michael Copps, of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC): "We simply don't have a game plan. Nearly all of the industrialised nations except the US have national broadband plans."

Copps' criticism of broadband strategy is among a number of swipes he takes at the FCC, of which he is tipped to be chairman if Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry makes it to the White House next month.

He accuses the commission of undermining investor and entrepreneurial confidence through poor decision making.

Despite the lambasting, Copps is optimistic about the future: "I believe that what is coming down the road in this new century is going to make all of the dramatic telecommunications changes of the past century pale by comparison."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff