OECD Broadband Market Developments
A recent Organization for Co-operation and Development (OECD) report to Ministers, concerning information and communications technology (ICT) and the digital economy, concluded that, “... considering the ongoing spread of ICT and its continued importance for growth, policy makers should foster an environment that helps firms seize the benefits of ICT” (OECD 2003a: 7). The deployment of highspeed (or broadband) Internet networks is integral for ICT diffusion generally, and in particular the availability broadband service.1 Broadband networks, as a general purpose technology, have the capability to deliver benefit to many economic sectors. That is, broadband networks can provide a vehicle to deliver, e.g., government, education, cultural and health services. Given the potential social dividend obtained from broadband technology use, it is important to ensure that this technology is widely diffused within nations—and not concentrated at the main, typically urban, national economic hubs. With broadband technology penetration increasing in urban areas, several OECD Member Country governments are addressing potential national broadband digital divide issues, viz., that national divides may develop should broadband service not be made readily available to rural and remotely located populations. Accordingly, this study provides an overview of broadband network developments within OECD Member Countries, and analyzes recent Member Country national broadband policy. Subsequent to this review, the potential for intra-Member Country national digital divides to emerge is considered, as are national initiatives to provide high-speed access to rural and remote populations. The chapter concludes with recommendations for policy makers.
KeywordsBroadband Access Broadband Network Digital Subscriber Line Broadband Service Cable Network
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