here for ordering information
is one thing to perceive the pressing need to promote broadband, and
another to engage actively and successfully in its promotion.”
reality, there is more than one answer to the question of why it is worth
promoting broadband. On a general level, analysis consistently shows that
economies that actively pursue promotion of new technologies most often
fare better in terms of access, economic gain and technological impact.
Broadband is no exception to this. Analysis also shows that consumers
often remain ignorant about the benefits they might gain by switching to
broadband, and need some convincing of what is in it for them.
governments, broadband is a way of promoting economic development and
certain social benefits. For instance, in the Republic of Korea and Hong
Kong, China, which are currently the leading broadband economies,
telecommunication expenditure as a percentage of GDP grew up to three
times faster in the last ten years than the global average. As many
countries have also experienced, broadband can also facilitate the
provision of public services, such as e-learning, e-health and
telecommunication companies, broadband offers a route to offset the
current slowdown in the industry. In the Republic of Korea, the average
revenue per user (ARPU) for a broadband user is up to seven times higher
than for a narrowband user. For consumers, broadband makes possible a much
wider and richer range of applications, especially when higher speed
services are available. For instance, in a user survey in Japan, 70 per
cent of users reported that broadband had increased their usage of the
Internet. And in Iceland, some 40 foreign television channels are
broadcast over the broadband network, greatly widening the choice of
businesses, in particular small- and medium-sized enterprises, broadband
brings the advantages of access to high-speed communications, and the
ability to reach a worldwide audience that were previously only available
to larger companies. Broadband also adds flexibility to the workplace
through teleworking and remote network access at fast speeds.
perhaps the most important role in promoting broadband demand. Successful
broadband economies are characterized by low prices—typically as a
result of flourishing competition and innovative pricing schemes that
attract a wide variety of customers. As price plays such a vital role in
users’ adoption decisions, it is vital to understand how policies that
reduce prices increase broadband penetration.
is one thing to perceive the pressing need to promote broadband, however,
and another to engage in its promotion actively and with success. This is
where the experiences of economies that have done so provide valuable keys
to what works, and what doesn’t. For
broadband growth and development, success factors vary from country to
country. One thing that is clear though, is that those countries that
tackle both supply and demand issues have had most success in raising
availability of broadband and in the quality and choice of services.
Judging from the experience of the most successful broadband economies, a
proactive approach to broadband promotion is certainly one of the keys to
success. Box 2 on Estonia, describes its successful broadband promotion
strategy in schools.
2: Estonia: Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright
in education: Far-reaching benefits
launched the Tiger Leap National Programme in 1996 in an effort to make
a developmental leap by introducing information and communication
technologies (ICT) into secondary schools. The targets were to achieve
the ratio of one PC per 20 students, an Internet connection to each
school, and basic computer training for all teachers. Today, the
programme has accomplished most of its goals. Through Tiger Leap, 75 per
cent of all Estonian schools have broadband Internet connections and the
remaining schools have a dial-up option. More than 63 per cent of
teachers have received training courses, acquired basic computer skills,
and have been given guidance in using contemporary ICTs in teaching.
in IT education and the promotion of broadband access in Estonian
schools has been a significant factor in spreading the use of ICTs more
broadly, beyond the boundaries of the education system. The programme
has attracted considerable backing from local governments, the private
sector and international investors, and has helped to shape Estonia's
progressive reputation. Today, 35 per cent of the Estonian population
uses the Internet, 38 per cent uses personal computers, and 18 per cent
have their own home computers. Furthermore, 90 per cent of government
agencies’ computers are connected to the Internet. These figures place
Estonia as the leader in usage of IT in upper-middle income countries
(see chart). Estonia’s broadband penetration (at 3.4 subscribers per
100 inhabitants in 2002) ranks it among the world leaders.
six years after the introduction of Tiger Leap, a new generation of
Estonians, accustomed to fast information access and equipped with ICT
skills, is reaching university level. As these students grow older and
continue to demand fast access to information in different areas of
their lives, the demand for ICT-related competence can be expected to
continue its rapid growth.
Bureau of Education (2002) http://www.ibe.unesco.org.;
NDP Estonia (2002) http://www.undp.ee/tigerleap/2.html.
Internet users data in italics are estimated figures.