Study highlights importance of national broadband plans

Comments Off July 4, 2013 at 10:17 am

Countries with a clearly-defined national vision for broadband rollout are significantly out-performing those taking a more laissez-faire approach to broadband development, according to a new joint report released by ITU, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and network equipment maker Cisco Systems Inc.

In addition, new research undertaken by ITU analysts indicate that countries with a National Broadband Plan have fixed broadband penetration some 8.7% higher on average than countries without plans.

Once the potential impact of factors such as higher average income per capita, market concentration and urbanization are discounted, research suggests that countries with plans benefit from fixed broadband penetration on average 2.5% higher than countries without plans.

In mobile, the impact may be even greater — countries which have National Broadband Plans also have mobile broadband penetration some 7.4% higher on average than countries without plans.

The report concludes that market competition also plays a strong role in boosting broadband penetration. Competitive markets are associated with broadband penetration levels some 1.4% higher on average for fixed broadband and up to 26.5% higher on average for mobile broadband, it states.

“The Broadband Commission’s message about the power of broadband to transform each and every economic sector is now gaining global traction,” said ITU Secretary-General, Dr Hamadoun Toure. “Governments are realizing that broadband networks are not just vital to national competitiveness, but to the delivery of education, healthcare, public utilities like energy and water, environmental management, and a whole host of government services.

“Broadband is the key enabler not just of human interaction, but of the machine-to-machine communications systems that will underpin tomorrow’s world.”

“Broadband plans clearly matter,” said Dr Robert Pepper, vice president of global technology policy for Cisco. “Plans spur adoption, accelerating economic growth and increasing national competitiveness. The role of policy is to set a vision for broadband development and ensure a level playing field which then allows for the best ideas to prosper.”

The report also documents strong recent growth in National Broadband Plans, with 134 plans in force by mid-2013.