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A Short Note on World Class Broadband

30 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2013 Last revised: 15 Mar 2015

Ewan Sutherland

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre

Date Written: June 11, 2013


The term world class is used in some broadband plans, as a target. Comparisons with other countries are beneficial, though not straightforward, in measuring progress. Claims about improvements to national competitiveness and economic growth are difficult to determine, given that economic rivals are following similar policies, and the effects of the use of the most recent broadband services are difficult to measure. Many countries rely on statistics that are inadequate for the task, though there are independent data (e.g. crowdsourced) that fill key gaps. Economic regulation will maximise the contribution of market players, but there is a growing recognition of the need for demand stimulation in order to reach potential silver surfers, the disabled and the very poor. Different indicators and policies are required. For a very countries broadband leadership is seen as part of a manufacturing strategy, for those aspiring to be world class, it may be sufficient to be fast followers, but this requires a wide range of initiatives supported by high quality and timely statistics.

Keywords: broadband, telecommunications, wireless, comparisons, statistics, policy, regulation

JEL Classification: D10, D21, H40, K23, I43, l96, O18, O33, R58

Suggested Citation

Sutherland, Ewan, A Short Note on World Class Broadband (June 11, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Ewan Sutherland (Contact Author)

University of the Witwatersrand, LINK Centre ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenue
Johannesburg, Gauteng 2000
South Africa


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