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March 05, 2009

Significant ICT Access Evidence of the Economic Benefits of Broadband

A recent econometric study undertaken by economic consulting firm, LECG, under the guidance of Professor Leonard Waverman found that countries with medium to high levels of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) diffusion had rapid broadband technology penetration and significant economic benefits.

The study was commissioned by Nokia Siemens Networks, a global provider of telecommunications services and focused on broadband diffusion over the last 10 years in Europe and the United States.
On the contrary, broadband penetration has been markedly slower in countries where ICT diffusion is relatively low with no significant economic productivity gains. Proactive measures by governments of these countries are essential for broadband adoption in aiding businesses and consumers to make economically efficient utilization of broadband technology.
"Demand side" policies are the need of the hour according to the study, as these create incentives for adopting broadband and computing technologies. Both businesses and governments need to enhance awareness on benefits of effective use of broadband technology and ICT usage training. These policies will be able to bridge the digital divide in terms of user skills and also address the divide in societies- of people using digital technologies and those who are not.
"Many countries are looking at how to provide universal access to broadband as an assumed driver of economic productivity. But far too little attention is being given to other key factors. For instance, a U.S. stimulus package that addresses affordable access would have a far greater impact when complemented by emphasizing access to computing devices, ICT training and education," said Professor Waverman.
The key focus areas for policy makers are future broadband infrastructure users and the huge need for creating demand for broadband access. Investments to reduce costs for technology adoption by businesses, enhancing total ICT skills and technology based business model restructuring are needed by countries, to make broadband a viable productivity enhancement tool.
"In the face of the current economic crisis, we call on European policy makers to develop their own models that provide the right overall environment for investment in broadband to be economically effective," said Ilkka Lakaniemi, head of global political dialogue and initiatives at Nokia Siemens Networks (News - Alert).
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

Shireen Dee is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Shireen's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart


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