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Broadband Commission releases first country case studies

Snapshot of state of broadband in four emerging economies spanning the Americas,
Asia and Europe

Geneva, 15 May, 2012 – The Broadband Commission for Digital Development, in partnership with ITU, has today released its first country case studies looking in-depth at the state of broadband development in four economies and examining links between broadband and the UN Millennium Development Goals.

The case studies, which cover the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Panama, the Philippines, and Romania, look at the effect of broadband connectivity on economic growth and access to basic services like education and health. They offer regulatory guidance and best practices, showcasing success stories and lessons learned.

Romania and TFYR Macedonia both provide strong examples of how adopting pro-ICT policies, establishing effective regulatory frameworks and developing strategic private and public partnerships can play a key role in boosting broadband access, affordability and demand.

A nation with a strong commitment to connectivity as a driver of national growth, TFYR Macedonia already boasts an impressive broadband penetration rate of 32%. Internet access in schools and Wi-Fi-based public Internet access points have been rolled out throughout the country, including remote areas. Schools now offer one Web-enabled computer for every 1.45 children, while university students and academics can freely access knowledge and research resources via the academic network MARnet.

Meanwhile, near-neighbour Romania ranks among the top countries in the world for broadband speed, and scores well for affordability too. The average cost of a baseline monthly broadband subscription represents less than 5% of average monthly income – well within the global targets established by the Broadband Commission last October. Public access is promoted through initiatives like ‘Biblionet’, which was launched in 2009 and which provides free library-based access through some 795 public libraries equipped with 3,318 computers.

Case studies on Panama and the Philippines, meanwhile, explore the impact of broadband on the economy and on job creation. Both studies evaluate the development of e-applications in the areas of education, public health, media and government services – all of which can help further stimulate broadband adoption.

In Panama, fixed broadband is having a significant economic impact. Analysis of a structural econometric model for the period 2000-2010 indicates that fixed broadband now contributes an annual 0.44% of GDP, with the indirect effects of fixed broadband use estimated to have contributed almost 9.6% of total national economic growth. Accelerating take-up means that this impact has now almost doubled to reach 0.82% of annual GDP, and contributed 11.3% of all economic growth over the decade.

In the Philippines’ case study, analysis over the same 10-year period indicates that mobile broadband adoption has contributed an annual 0.32% to GDP, representing 6.9% of total GDP growth for the economy over the past decade. Given the acceleration of mobile broadband penetration since 2005, this impact has also now almost doubled, reaching 0.61% of GDP, representing 7.3% of total economic growth over the decade.

The new case studies were launched during a special side event held during the WSIS Forum 2012 event, which is taking place in Geneva this week (14-18 May).

Speaking after the launch, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré noted that “It is now time to ensure that everyone – wherever they live, and whatever their circumstances – has access to the benefits of broadband. This is not just about delivering connectivity for connectivity’s sake, or even about giving people access to the undoubted benefits of social communications. It is about leveraging the power of broadband technologies, and especially mobile technologies, to make the world a better place.”

Download the full set of case studies at: www.broadbandcommission.org/work/documents/case-studies.aspx

Visit ITU’s Broadband Universe portal for up-to-date statistics, videos and broadband news: www.itu.int/broadband

For more information on the Broadband Commission, visit: www.broadbandcommission.org

Follow the Broadband Commission on Facebook: www.facebook.com/broadbandcommission

Follow the Broadband Commission on Twitter: www.itu.int/twitter

For more information, please contact:

Sarah Parkes
Media Relations, ITU
tel +41 22 730 6135
mobile +41 79 599 1439
email sarah.parkes@itu.int
   

   About the Broadband Commission for Digital Development

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was launched at ITU headquarters in Geneva in May 2010 in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s call to step up UN efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mr Carlos Slim Helú, President of the Carlos Slim Foundation, with ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun Touré and UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, serving as joint vice chairs.

Commission members comprise a high-powered international community, including prominent CEOs, top-level policy-makers and government representatives, heads of international agencies, and senior figures from academia and organizations with a development mandate. In 2011, Commissioners agreed on a set of four targets that countries around the world should strive to meet in order to ensure their populations fully participate in tomorrow’s emerging knowledge societies.

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