National broadband plans “crucial” to success, says ITU

Countries with a clearly-defined national vision for broadband roll-out are significantly out-performing those with a more relaxed approach, according to a new report by the International Telecommunications Union.

The report observes that there were 134 national broadband plans in place around the world by the middle of 2013, all of which aim to increase usage of broadband-enabled services and applications by citizens and businesses.

Such plans are found to have a big impact on market penetration of fixed and mobile broadband services, with average penetration around 8% higher for both in those countries with a formalised plan.

Market competition is also believed to play an important role here, with competitive markets averaging 1% higher penetration for fixed broadband and 26% higher for mobile broadband than those markets with a monopoly.

Dr Hamadoun I. Toure, secretary-general of the ITU, said: “Governments are realising 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.”

The study concludes by stating that the full economic and social benefits are most likely to be realised where there is strong partnership between government and industry, and counsels a consultative, participatory approach to policy in conjunction with key stakeholders.

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