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Thursday, 31 March 2011 21:27

ITU says broadband now a necessity for which every government must have a policy

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) says that broadband access is no longer a luxury but a necessity that will be crucial to every country's economic, social and political growth, and it says there is also the need for proactive national broadband planning by every government.

The findings are contained in the latest edition, the eleventh, of the ITU's flagship ICT regulatory report 'Trends in Telecommunication Reform'. It says that an effective national broadband policy must "examine the options for stimulating the deployment of broadband and for maximising the positive economic impact of the technology."

According to the ITU, such a policy "will include strategic spectrum management that encompasses managing the transition from analogue to digital radio and television broadcasting, and the laying of a solid foundation for the rollout of next generation networks." It adds: "The advent of high-speed networks and new kinds of content also puts emphasis on the importance of the role of government and ICT regulators in stimulating the demand for broadband and in promoting investment in infrastructure.

According to the ITU, the report " confirms that ICT markets around the world are becoming more competitive in just about every respect, from international gateway services to wireless local loop and 3G." The report says that, in 2010, more than 93 percent of countries worldwide allowed competition in the provision of Internet services, and 90 percent in the provision of mobile cellular services. A further 92 percent have competitive 3G mobile broadband markets.

But with increased competition has come increased regulation. At the beginning of 2011, more than 80 percent of markets worldwide had separate ICT regulatory agencies, making for a total of 158 ICT regulators worldwide - up from 106 just one decade ago. "The report reveals an increasingly robust yet complex regulatory landscape which has emerged in response to the tremendous influence ICTs now have on the shape and growth of other economic sectors," ITU says.

According to the ITU, "As effective regulation becomes crucial to economic growth across all sectors, two broad themes emerge in the report: the ubiquity of ICTs, and the critical role of telecom/ICT regulators in creating an enabling digital environment. From climate change to health, to education and personal security; no discussion of major social issues is complete without close examination of the role of ICTs in creating, managing, and resolving these issues."

The new report is available for purchase from www.itu.int/pub/D-REG-TTR.12-2010.

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