The world is shifting from narrowband to broadband. Services that were only available in the form of static, text-based websites a decade ago are now offered in full-motion, high-definition video. A whole new generation of Internet entrepreneurs is ready to take their ideas to the stock market.
Nevertheless, a gap remains between the developed and the developing world when it comes to broadband. The digital divide that was once measured in terms of differences in access to communications is now measured in terms of differences in quality of access. Slow speeds for download translate into lost economic opportunity. Yet the evidence seems to suggest that, where broadband is available in developing countries, it is a major contributor to economic growth. The developing world has adopted mobile phones much more readily than tethered ones, so as mobile broadband becomes more readily available, a further boost to growth can be expected. In line with this growth, the United Nations recently declared that broadband access is a basic human right.
A decade ago, info Dev and the World Bank’s Information and Communication Technology Sector Unit joined forces with the International Telecommunication Union to develop the Telecommunication Regulation Handbook, a bestseller that was updated and reissued in 2010.
Broadband Strategies Handbook is intended as a next-generation tool for policy makers, regulators, and other relevant stakeholders as they address issues related to broadband development. It aims to help readers, particularly those in developing countries, in identifying issues and challenges in broadband development, analyzing potential solutions to consider, and providing practical examples from countries that have addressed broadband- related matters. It goes beyond the regulatory issues and looks more broadly at the challenges of promoting and universalizing broadband access.