Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ITU: Broadband Remain Unaffordable in Many Markets

While there are some 600 million broadband lines in service worldwide, affordability remains a major obstacle, particularly in Africa, where fixed broadband access costs on average three times monthly per capita income, according to the ITU's newly published "Trends in Telecommunication Reform" annual report.

In contrast, mobile cellular and mobile broadband services remains very competitive in 92 percent of all markets. By the end of 2011, ITU estimated that the number of mobile-cellular subscriptions reached close to 6 billion, representing a global penetration of 86.7 percent and a penetration level of 78.8 percent in developing countries.

Subtitled ‘Smart Regulation for a Broadband World', this year's report sheds light on the often complex legal and regulatory issues now emerging as broadband becomes pervasive and increasingly serves as a driving force for the development of other economic sectors. Case studies and decision trees are provided for national regulators who are working through the process of developing a broadband plan for their country. Ultimately, there is not a single "right" universal service funding model, according to the report, but there are common principles such as economic efficiency, equity, competitive neutrality, technological neutrality, certainty, transparency, and cost effectiveness.