Enabling Sustainable Digital Highways

Julius Genachowski, chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, aptly described the relevance of broadband as a vital asset with an impact that extends far beyond the telecommunications sector: “Broadband is the great infrastructure challenge of our generation. It is to us what railroads, electricity, highways, and telephones were to previous generations—a platform for commerce, for democratic engagement, and for helping address major national challenges.”1 Nationwide access to electricity and highways was a central focus of public policy in the 20th century.

This century, timely, universal, and affordable access to broadband is emerging worldwide as a vital consideration for governments and the private sector.The creation of national broadband networks is crucial to sustainable economic development and social progress, in developed as well as emerging economies, and thus must move to the top of national strategic agendas. Despite the pervasive recognition of broadband’s benefits, a substantial majority of the world’s households today lack access to an adequate connection.

The sector’s adherence to legacy policies, regulations, and business models is limiting timely and adequate investment in necessary infrastructure. Governments and private-sector operators must prepare to accept a fundamentally new set of principles and business models.

Their acceptance will be imperative to breaking the deadlock that inhibits investment and secure access to broadband. After exploring broadband’s impact on economic and social development and the potential risks looming on the sector’s sustainability, this chapter will outline a new approach to broadband, proposing a shift of paradigms for governments and private-sector operators. The broadband dividend Since the beginning of this decade, broadband has exhibited its profound impact across society.

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It has fundamentally transformed the way businesses, consumers, and governments operate. Just as countries with a young population benefit from a so-called demographic dividend, countries with higher broadband penetration have reaped rich broadband dividends across economic and social activities. For a society to realize the full potential of this asset, its broadband deployment has to be universal and affordable. It has to enable high-speed access, and it must happen in a timely manner. Universality and affordability are vital to ensure that broadband is inclusive and can be used as a tool for public service, particularly in health, education, employment, and social integration. Governments have traditionally been unable to effectively serve rural and underprivileged communities, where public services are most needed. Widespread broadband deployment has proven to be a key transformation tool to address that issue and effect change in those communities.

Broadband’s performance is also a key component of its effectiveness in transforming the way individuals and corporations cooperate and create. Broadband facilitates innovation and entrepreneurship. Booz & Company analyzed a group of 50 countries and found that countries within the top 10 percent of broadband penetration as a proportion of Internet penetration had much higher innovation efficiency than countries in the bottom tier of broadband-to-Internet ratio (see Figure 2).

Finally

Countries with a higher proportion of broadband-to-Internet connections see greater innovation. Broadband stokes innovation and it does so exponentially—countries with 80 percent broadband penetration are more than twice as innovative as countries with 40 percent penetration. Timeliness in deploying broadband yields further substantial benefits for countries.A Booz & Company analysis indicated that countries that perennially ranked in the top tier of broadband penetration recorded twice the rate of GDP growth of countries that consistently ranked in the bottom tier (see Figure 3).A For More Information Visit This Site: thefrisky

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