National broadband plans boost penetration by 2.5%: ITU, Cisco

The adoption of a national broadband plan boosts broadband penetration by 2.5% and mobile broadband penetration by 7.4%, according to new research from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Cisco.

Researchers from the United Nations (UN) institute and the maker of routers and switches found that the introduction of a national broadband plan led to greater coordination between the industry and the public sector and bolstered the sector by emphasizing the role of broadband as a national priority.

The adoption of a national broadband plan boosts broadband penetration by 2.5% and mobile broadband penetration by 7.4%, according to new research from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Cisco.

Researchers from the United Nations (UN) institute and the maker of routers and switches found that the introduction of a national broadband plan led to greater coordination between the industry and the public sector and bolstered the sector by emphasizing the role of broadband as a national priority.

The study also noted – perhaps unsurprisingly – that fixed broadband penetration is 1.4% higher, on average, in competitive broadband markets than non-competitive ones, and that mobile broadband penetration is 26.5% higher in such circumstances.

According to the research, there are now some 134 national broadband plans in existence around the world, although they vary considerably in terms of emphasis.

Nevertheless, all plans ascribe a vital role to broadband technology in boosting national competitiveness.

The authors also point out that the full benefits of broadband are most likely to be realized where there is a strong partnership between government, industry and other stakeholders, and where governments engage in a “consultative, participatory approach to the policy-making process”.

“There is a need to move from ‘silo-thinking’ to a more comprehensive point of view encompassing different sectors, in recognition of the nature of broadband as a cross-sectoral enabler,” say the report’s authors. “Implementation is still an issue, with broad-based buy-in by different stakeholders critical to a plan’s success.”

The ITU and Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA) urge governments to regularly review and update their plans, noting that the average lifespan for superseded plans is 8.4 years, while that for plans still in force is seven years.

The report insists that revisions are necessary every three to five years to “balance the costs involved in policy-making with developments in a fast-changing industry”.