A Comparison of National Broadband Strategies in Developed and Developing Countries: Perspectives, Challenges and Lessons

Posted: 29 Mar 2012

See all articles by Prabir K. Neogi

Prabir K. Neogi

Carleton University

Johannes M. Bauer

Michigan State University-Department of Media and Information

Date Written: March 28, 2012


Background and Purpose:

To mark the 40th anniversary of the first TPRC Conference in 1972, this Panel will bring together experts from TPRC and sister regional research organizations, like LIRNEasia, EuroCPR, DIRSI (in Latin America) and Research ICT Africa!, to examine the topical issue of National Broadband Strategies from their different contexts and viewpoints. TPRC pioneered addressing challenging issues in telecommunications policy in the 1970s. Since that time, a global community of scholars has emerged that can facilitate systematic learning from each other. We propose to dedicate this panel to a comparison and assessment of broadband strategies, which is a topic of continuing interest to the TPRC community, both researchers and policymakers. At the same time, we would like to explore the possibilities and limitations of learning from other nations’ and regions’ experiences.

Broadband is the great infrastructure challenge of the early 21st century, comparable to the building of earlier transformative networked infrastructures like trans-continental railroads in the 19th century, the electricity grid in the first half of the 20th century and the US Interstate highway system in the 2nd half of the 20th century. A ubiquitous and advanced broadband telecommunications infrastructure provides the essential platform for the efficient functioning of the Digital (or Internet) Economy.

In a partial reversal of the withdrawal of the state to regulatory functions, over the last few years some 20 countries have launched major national initiatives to accelerate the deployment of advanced broadband infrastructures. These include: • The Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) initiative; • The Korean Next Generation Network program; • Similar national initiatives by Japan, Singapore, the UK, France and other European countries; • The American National Broadband Plan and the Wireless Innovation Infrastructure Initiative; • The European Union’s Europe 2020 Digital Agenda; and • Development of national strategies in developing countries like Brazil and India.

These initiatives reflect responses to new types of market failure and system failure that were not as visible in the transition to first generation broadband services. Nonetheless, the success and effectiveness of these initiatives is less than certain. Some have expressed concerns that they are first signs that the age of liberalization is coming to an end and a new era of dominance may ensue. Moreover, broadband availability is a necessary but not sufficient condition for adoption and use. However, the most effective design of complementary policies is uncertain.

In this panel discussion we will examine a selected set of national broadband strategies, including programs to promote both deployment and adoption and use. The proposed panelists were selected based on their international experience and outlook as well as their historical perspective (e.g., Prof. William Melody served at the FCC when MCI received its license to offer long distance services and he has remained active since in the field). The panelists will discuss the strategies being used in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the EU, the US, Brazil, India and South Africa, among others. We wish to find out what worked, what did not, the problems encountered and whether there are lessons to be learned that are of general applicability, particularly for the US and Canada.

Policymakers in both developed and developing countries need to identify the short, medium and longer term impacts of broadband deployment initiatives, especially those that result from the new and innovative uses of the infrastructure. A dialogue between the policymakers and the researchers may also help to develop the outline of a medium term Policy Research Agenda, covering identified current and future issues which will require further work.

Panel Moderators: *Dr. Prabir Neogi, Industry Canada/Government of Canada *Prof. Johannes M. Bauer, Michigan State University

Panelists : (proposed list)

*Dr. Robert Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) *Prof. Alison Gillwald, Director, Research ICT Africa! and Associate Director,The EDGE Institute, Johannesburg, South Africa *Prof. Judith Mariscal, Professor, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Economica (CIDE), Director of the Telecommunications Research Program, Telecom-CIDE, and member of the Steering Committee of DIRSI * Prof. William Melody, Visiting Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark and Founder, former Managing Director and currently Advisor of LIRNE.NET *Prof. Catherine Middleton, Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada *Dr. Rohan Samarajiva, Founding Chair and Chief Executive Officer, LIRNEasia, and Executive Director CPRSouth, Colombo, Sri Lanka *Dr. Jean-Paul Simon, Senior scientist , Information Society Unit, Directorate-General JRC, IPTS, European Commission and member EuroCPR Board

* panelists who have indicated an interest or willingness to attend

Contact Information (Panel Organizers/Moderators)

Dr. Prabir K. Neogi Special Advisor, Electronic Commerce Branch Spectrum, Information Technologies and Telecommunications Sector Department of Industry, Government of Canada Jean Edmonds Tower North, R1883D 300 Slater Street Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0C8. Tel: 613-990-4264 Email: prabir.neogi@ic.gc.ca

Dr. Johannes M. Bauer Professor, Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media Director Special Programs, Quello Center for Telecommunication Management & Law 404 Wilson Road, Room 409 Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA Office phone 1.517.432.8003, fax 1.517.355.1292, mobile 1.517.944.4154 Email: bauerj@msu.edu SSRN Author page: http://ssrn.com/author=107549

Background of Panelists

Dr. Robert Atkinson is President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a non-profit, non-partisan public policy think tank located in Washington which is committed to articulating and advancing a pro-productivity, pro-innovation and pro-technology public policy agenda, both in the US and internationally. He is the author of such important reports as “Digital Prosperity: Understanding the Economic Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution” and “Explaining International Broadband Leadership”. He co-authored the January 2009 ITIF study “The Digital Road to Recovery: A Stimulus Plan to Create Jobs, Boost Productivity and Revitalize America”, and the March 2009 study “The Need for Speed: The Importance of Next Generation Broadband Networks”. Email: ratkinson@innovationpolicy.org;

Prof. Alison Gillwald is Director of Research ICT Africa (RIA), an 18 African country ICT policy and regulatory research network which is hosted by The EDGE Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa. Prior to this she was Associate Professor at the Witwatersrand University Graduate School of Public and Development Management, where she founded the Learning Information Networking and Knowledge (LINK) Centre in 1999 with the purposes of fast tracking ICT policy and regulatory training in Southern Africa. Prior to that, she was appointed to the founding Council of the South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (SATRA). She is the founding editor of the Southern African Journal of Information and Communication and has published in the areas of telecommunications and broadcasting policy and regulation, gender and politics more broadly. She is an authority on the use of mobile phones in Southern Africa. Email: agillwald@the-edge.org.za,

Prof. Judith Mariscal is Professor at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Economica (CIDE) where she is Director of the Telecommunications Research Program, Telecom-CIDE. She is a member of the Steering Committee for Regional Dialogue on the Information Society (DIRSI), a research network on ICT policy for development in Latin America and the Caribbean. Her current research focuses on ICT regulatory and public policies and has been published in leading journals such as Telecommunications Policy, Latin American Studies and Information Technologies and International Development. She has authored two books: Unfinished Business: Telecommunications Reform in Mexico by Praeger Press in 2000, and Digital Poverty: Latin American and Caribbean Perspectives, by ITDG in 2007, coauthored with Hernán Galperin. Articles on telecommunications policy and regulation include Information Technologies and International Development, MIT Press Vol. 3 No. 2, 2006; and “Mobile phone Usage in Mexico: Policy and Popular Dimensions” in the Handbook of Mobile Communication and Social Change MIT Press, 2006). Email: judith.mariscal@cide.edu;

Prof. William (Bill) Melody is the Founder, former Managing Director and currently Advisor of LIRNE.NET and of the World Dialogue on Regulation for Network Economies (WDR) Programme. He is a Visiting Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark and the London School of Economics, and Emeritus Professor at the Delft University of Technology, NL. He participated in the earliest stages of telecom reform and computer/communication convergence as Senior and Chief Economist, US FCC, and was an adviser and expert witness on economic and regulatory issues for the US Department of Justice in US v. AT&T, which led to the AT&T divestiture. He has been a major contributor to the research and policy literature for more than 30 years with more that 150 publications in books, reports and professional journals. He is a former editor of Telecommunications Policy, and on the editorial board for several journals. He was editor and author of six chapters in Telecom Reform: Principles, Policies and Regulatory Practices (1997), which has been used in training and university programs in more than 100 countries. He was also on the advisory board of infoDev’s Telecommunications Regulation Handbook and its ICT Technology Toolkit.

Prof. Catherine Middleton is an Associate Professor in the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management, at Ryerson University, Toronto. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Communication Technologies in the Information Society Her research considers socio-technical issues related to the consumer adoption of broadband and wireless technologies. Prof. Middleton is currently leading a research project titled "Developing Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure: Learning from Australia's National Broadband Network", and working on a project at the University of Melbourne on "Assessing the Potential Barriers to the Adoption of High-Speed Broadband by Australian Business". Her paper “Open Access Broadband Networks in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore” co-authored with Dr. Jock Given, was presented at TPRC 2010. She is leading the New Media Challenges and Opportunities theme of the Network Centre of Excellence (NCE) in Graphics, Animation and New Media. Prof. Middleton was the Principal Investigator for the Community Wireless Infrastructure Research Project (www.cwirp.ca), which was funded by Infrastructure Canada. Email: catherine.middleton@ryerson.ca ;

Dr. Rohan Samarajiva is founding Chair and CEO of LIRNEasia, an ICT policy and regulation think tank active across 12 emerging Asian economies. His book, ICT infrastructure in emerging Asia: Policy and regulatory roadblocks (Sage and IDRC, 2008), is a compilation of LIRNEasia research. Dr. Samarajiva was Team Leader at the Sri Lanka Ministry for Economic Reform, Science and Technology (2002-04) responsible for infrastructure reforms, including participation in the design of the US$83 million e_Sri Lanka Initiative. He was Director General of Telecommunications in Sri Lanka (1998-99), a founder director of the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (2003-05), Honorary Professor at the University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka (2003-04), Visiting Professor of Economics of Infrastructures at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands (2000-03) and Associate Professor of Communication and Public Policy at the Ohio State University in the US (1987-2000). Dr. Samarajiva was Policy Advisor to the Ministry of Post and Telecom in Bangladesh (2007-09). Email: rohan@lirneasia.net

Dr. Jean-Paul Simon is a Senior scientist at the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), European Commission, Directorate-General JRC, since January 2010 and a member of the EuroCPR Board. Founder and director of JPS Public Policy Consulting, a consulting firm specialised in media/ telecom law and regulation, January 2007-December 2009. Director LECG, June 2007-December 2009. Senior Vice-President, International Regulatory Strategy, Regulatory Affairs Directorate, Orange- France Telecom Group, September 2001- December 2006. From October 1996 to September 2001, he was head, European Regulation. He joined the National Centre for Telecommunications Research (CNET), the research branch of France Telecom (research on public policies and regulation) in 1985. Previously, he worked as a consultant and for the newspaper industry (publisher). He has written several books and articles on communications and public policy. He is a frequent speaker on telecommunications and media in Europe and the USA. E-Mail: Jean-Paul.Simon@ec.europa.eu

Keywords: Broadband, next-generation networks, information infrastructure policy, international comparison, TPRC anniversary

JEL Classification: L86, L96, L5, K2, H4

Suggested Citation

Neogi, Prabir K. and Bauer, Johannes M., A Comparison of National Broadband Strategies in Developed and Developing Countries: Perspectives, Challenges and Lessons (March 28, 2012). 2012 TRPC, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2030440

Prabir K. Neogi (Contact Author)

Carleton University ( email )

1869 Stonehenge Crescent
Ottawa, Ontario K1B4N7
6137462329 (Phone)

Johannes M. Bauer

Michigan State University-Department of Media and Information ( email )

409 Communication Arts Building
East Lansing, MI 48824-1212
United States
517-355-8372 (Phone)
517-355-1292 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.msu.edu/~bauerj

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