This will be the first of a multi-part series that looks at the efficiency of five critical public policies regarding the acceleration of broadband deployment. It is based on an insightful white paper done for Nokia (News - Alert) by Diffraction Analysis, appropriately titled, “Government broadband plan: 5 key policy measures that proved to make a difference.
Benoit Felton Chief Research Officer, Diffraction Analysis explains, the short video below describes the report and its methodology and objectives. The report looked at 35 of over 130 countries with broadband plans were examined to assess their impact on the availability, affordability and quality of broadband based on a series of criteria.
The reason for the study is clear. The centrality of rapid broadband deployment as a primary engine for economic growth is undeniable. However, the areas policy makers, in conjunction with the communications industry, should be focusing on in terms of their impact has been problematic. Hence, being able to quantify what works and why on a comparable basis is important.
Indeed, what has become clear from a variety of research efforts over the years is that inaction of policy makers will, as Felton points out, widen the gap between countries that choose to act and those that don’t. And, only the former will reap increasing benefits.
Policy measure efficiency
Future articles will drill down into the five policy areas, the use cases that prove their value and recommendations as to how to move forward. As an inducement to read the full report, what follows is a description of them. Some are going to read as common sense while others are real food for thought. They are—
- Public investment in backbone and aggregation: By lowering the cost of operation for market players this measure has a noticeable impact on the price of fixed broadband. Countries that have included such investment in their plans have seen the price of fixed broadband drop by 4 percent of gross national income per capita over 4 years as opposed to a little over 1 percent for countries that have not invested.
- Public investment in access networks: By improving the coverage and quality of broadband, this measure increases the growth of fixed broadband subscriptions. Over 4 years post-publication, countries that have invested see a growth 30 percent higher than countries that have not invested.
- Regulatory framework for infrastructure sharing: By allowing operators to access existing assets to develop their networks, this measure enables a higher growth of internet adoption for households. Over 3 years, countries that put such a framework in place see the proportion of households with internet increase significantly more.
- Inclusive/social offers: By allowing those who can’t afford broadband to access some level of connectivity, this measure has a strong impact on the use of the internet within the population. Over 4 years, the growth in Internet usage per 100 inhabitants is 18 percent for countries with inclusive offers versus only 10 percent growth for those without.
- Regulatory frameworks facilitating FTTx roll-out: By reducing the costs and hurdles of deploying next generation network, such frameworks greatly improve the quality of broadband access in the countries in question.
As noted, the comparative information as to how each of the above can impact broadband deployment and adoption based on those over-arching categories of availability, affordability and quality of broadband, as well as adoption, should make this a “must read” reference tool. It also should serve as a call for action for policy makers.
Edited by Maurice Nagle