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Birth of Broadband: Chapter descriptions

Structure of the report

The report aims to explore the aspects of broadband mentioned here in greater depth, taking a variety of different angles. In doing so, we hope to reflect an international, global perspective, that also offers detailed close-ups of broadband in practice in people’s lives everywhere. Every effort has been made to describe specialized, technical details in simple terms, so that readers from all backgrounds will be able to understand more easily areas that are not of their particular specialization. We also hope that the different policy and strategy aspects of promoting broadband, developing infrastructure and content, and supplying them to the user, offer useful insights to all interested parties. To that end, the chapters have been broken down to cover different areas as follows:

Chapter Two: Technologies for Broadband
Several technology platforms are using the tag “broadband”, but what does it mean and what does it imply for differences in service quality? There are a variety of broadband platforms, including ADSL and cable modem as well as between more recent arrivals, such as wireless LANs, fixed wireless or fibre in the access network. Will these different technologies continue to coexist? Is the absence of a cable television network a barrier to broadband take-up? Click here for a summary of the chapter.

  Chapter Three: Supplying Broadband
Many different companies have entered the broadband arena, but in the majority of ITU Member States, it is the incumbent fixed-line operator that has emerged as the dominant provider. What are the dynamics of the broadband market and what corporate strategies have been most successful in winning market share? What pricing strategies have been most effective and how do prices vary between countries? Is broadband relevant for developing nations? Can broadband be supplied effectively on a community access model? Click here for a summary of the chapter.

Chapter Four: Using Broadband
Broadband users tend to be young and highly educated, and the most popular applications at present are games and file sharing. If broadband is to become a mass-market, the user profile will need to broaden and services will need to be marketed also to business users. This chapter examines which applications are currently driving broadband demand, how content fits into the picture—including intellectual property issues—and how usage is likely to evolve in the future. Click here for a summary of the chapter.

  Chapter Five: Regulatory and Policy Aspects
Fair-competition among market players is necessary to promote broadband telecommunication. The creation of a fair-competitive environment is the most important role for government to play. For broadband, the market environment covers several different sectors, including cable TV as well as telephony. What policies / regulations are helpful to promote fair, inter-modal competition in the broadband market? What level of cross-ownership and cross-sectoral service provision should be allowed? Click here for a summary of the chapter.

Chapter Six: Promoting Broadband
As local and national governments prepare for the challenges of the information society, there is much interest in who is doing well, and who is doing poorly, in broadband Internet access. Broadband access is being touted as a way for governments to attract investment, ensure future economic prosperity and provide enhanced social welfare. How can broadband be successfully promoted? What are the lessons to date from successful broadband economies? Is the case for broadband different in developing nations? Click here for a summary of the chapter.

Chapter Seven: Broadband and the Information Society
Broadband changes user habits, for instance by encouraging “always-on” use and positioning the home computer as a multimedia entertainment device. Coupled with the growth in high-speed mobile Internet access, and the development of pervasive communications, broadband will also change attitudes towards the information society. What new challenges will this pose, for instance for social ethics and welfare, and information security? Click here for a summary of the chapter.

The report draws throughout on ITU country case studies on broadband development and promotion, including Canada, Iceland, Republic of Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Hong Kong, China, as well as further case studies on Internet diffusion.[i] The Statistical Tables at the end of the report provide the latest available data on the state of broadband and telecommunications worldwide, extracted from the ITU World Telecommunication Indicators Database.

[i]      These and other ITU case studies are available on the ITU website at:


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Updated : 2011-04-04