Impact of broadband on the economic development of countries is extensively focused on research. To minimize the digital divide and increase the access to broadband, regulators and governments of developed as well as developing nations launch broadband policies/ plans and guidelines. Different organizations and entities carry out further research on this subject and produce white papers on the same.
The colloquium held at LIRNEasia last Thursday focused on three white papers published on broadband and digital connectivity this year (2016). These are;
- Government broadband plan: 5 key policy measures that proved to make a difference: Nokia (2016)
- Connecting the world: Ten mechanisms for global inclusion: PWC (2016)
- Digital Enablement: Bridging the Digital Divide to Connect People and Communities in India: Huawei (2016)
The Nokia commissioned white paper was done by diffraction analysis. The findings of the study was based on an in depth market study on 35 countries. The report suggested that transforming the broadband ecosystem should focus on long-term solutions, has to be ambitious and policy makers should be willing to accept to shake the ecosystem. The main constraints to access Internet were identified as lack of availability, low affordability, low quality, lack of locally relevant content and readiness of the user to adapt to the use of Internet.
The Facebook commissioned white paper by PricewaterhouseCoopers on “Connecting the world: Ten mechanisms for global inclusion” focused on Internet access. It emphasized that Internet access is enabled by three critical, interdependent markets (connectivity market, content market and retail market). The white paper proposed ten mechanisms for energizing the connectivity, content, and retail markets.
The third white paper on “Digital Enablement: Bridging the Digital Divide to Connect People and Communities in India” was done by Huawei. It identified key barriers of digital enablement as lack of a capable network connection, lack of cloud applications and services that meet locally relevant needs, lack of viable and sustainable business models that increase the value of being connected as well as reduce the costs, lack of awareness of benefits, lack of solutions to serve those with restricted abilities and impairments and low digital illiteracy. The paper suggested six mechanisms to overcome barriers. The suggestions are; expand network access,provide local content, develop successful business models to improve affordability, increase uptake of the internet and internet-enabled services, serve those with restricted abilities and increase digital literacy.
As a conclusion, the three white papers identified different barriers that slow Internet growth. They are:
They suggested different interventions to overcome these barriers.
In a way, the suggestions were biased towards the market that each organization caters to. As an example, the Nokia commissioned White paper focused on development of broadband infrastructure and the Facebook commissioned white paper had more interventions on apps and services. However, policy makers and regulators should study these papers and it’s important to gain input from these papers by identifying the context in which each paper was written.
Links for the papers: