Wishful thinking on broadband at ECLAC and elsewhere

Posted on October 7, 2011  /  0 Comments

Several of our Latin American colleagues have written about an increasing and dynamic digital divide. With all respect, much of what they write is wishful thinking. They have some kind of ideal picture of broadband and keep talking about it without mapping out the path from where we are to there.

The reason I saw this book is because they had cited what I had written, based on synthesizing the research from the Mobile More than Voice work we did in 2008-10. But our work is cited, not engaged with. Yes, it is problematic to access the Internet on feature phones over wireless platforms. But more problematic is how one gets millions of households connected to 5MB FTTP pipes of their dreams, when even connecting copper was an impossible dream.

No one believed that operators could make money at ARPUs of less that USD 5. But it happened because new business models were implemented and costs per unit came down to levels hitherto unthinkable. This is how wireless broadband will work. The sooner we stop talking about castles in the air, the sooner the day will come when all who want to use broadband will be able to.

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