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ITU: National broadband plans crucial to success

Countries with a clearly-defined national vision for broadband roll-out are significantly out-performing those taking a more laissez-faire approach to broadband development, according to a new report released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Raw data indicates that countries with a National Broadband Plan have fixed broadband penetration some 8.7% higher on average than countries without plans. Once the potential impact of factors like higher average income per capita, market concentration and urbanization are discounted, research suggests that countries with plans benefit from fixed broadband penetration on average 2.5% higher than countries without plans – a significant margin of advantage in an increasingly interconnected global economy.

There are currently 134 National Broadband Plans in force around the world.

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 report concludes 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.