GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The Broadband Commission
for Digital Development, inpartnership
with ITU, has released its first country case studies looking in-depth at the state
of broadband development in four economies and examining links between broadband
and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
The case studies,
which cover the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Panama, the Philippines,
and Romania, look at the effect of broadband connectivity on economic growth and
access to basic services like education and health. They offer regulatory guidance
and best practices, showcasing success stories and lessons learned.
TFYR Macedonia has
broadband penetration rate of 32 percent. Internet access in schools and Wi-Fi-based
public Internet access points have been rolled out throughout the country, including
remote areas. Schools now offer one Web-enabled computer for every 1.45 children,
while university students and academics can freely access knowledge and research
resources via the academic network MARnet.
Romania ranks among the top countries in the world for broadband speed, and scores
well for affordability too. The average cost of a baseline monthly broadband subscription
represents less than 5 percent of average monthly income—within the global
established by the Broadband Commission last October. Public access
is promoted through initiatives like “Biblionet,” which was launched in 2009 and
which provides free library-based access through some 795 public libraries equipped
with 3,318 computers.
Case studies on Panama
and the Philippines, meanwhile, explore the impact of broadband on the economy and
on job creation. Both studies evaluate the development of e-applications in the
areas of education, public health, media and government services—all of which can
help further stimulate broadband adoption.
In Panama, analysis
of a structural economic model for 2000-10 indicates that fixed broadband contributes
an 0.44 percent of GDP annually, with the indirect effects of fixed broadband use
estimated to have contributed almost 9.6 percent of total national economic growth.
Accelerating take-up means that this impact has now almost doubled to reach 0.82
percent of annual GDP, and contributed 11.3 percent of all economic growth over
In the Philippines’
case study, analysis over the same 10-year period indicates that mobile broadband
adoption has contributed an annual 0.32 percent to GDP, representing 6.9 percent
of total GDP growth for the economy over the past decade. Given the acceleration
of mobile broadband penetration since 2005, this impact has also now almost doubled,
reaching 0.61 percent of GDP, representing 7.3 percent of total economic growth
over the decade.