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Five Macro Trends that Benefit from Broadband Investment

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

Much of the recent business and economic news has been uncertain, regarding the outlook for renewed growth. But I’ve been thinking positively about the upside opportunities for progress.

Let me indulge in a bit of crystal-ball gazing. The telecommunications industry spends a lot of time focusing on deploying broadband for current applications. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see that there are at least a handful of macroeconomic trends that are either going to boost broadband adoption — or wither because there isn’t enough broadband available.

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Urban Renewal: A Tale of Two American Cities

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

For those who love irony, the story of Detroit is its epitome. Here’s a city that created an industry devoted to automobiles, which, because of their widespread acceptance, become the single greatest contributing factor to people leaving cities … like Detroit.

Granted, Detroit has had to deal with other contributing factors, but the fact remains that its population is a shadow of what it once was; over the past 60 years, its population has shrunk from 1.8 million to just over 700,000.

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Global IT Report 2013: Broadband Investments Bring Growth and Jobs

Can broadband lead to economic growth and employment?

This year’s edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report (GITR), sponsored in part by Cisco, tackles this critical question and the answer is a decisive ‘yes’. Launched today (April 10) in New York, this year’s GITR, titled “Growth and Jobs in a Hyperconnected World”, details how 144 countries are investing in broadband and IT, and realizing benefits of economic growth and employment.

The top of the report’s Networked Readiness Index (NRI) rankings are dominated by northern European, north American and ‘Asia Tiger’ countries. Several emerging countries, however, are making significant strides: Mexico (progressing from 76th to 63rd) and Colombia (advancing from 73rd to 66th) in Latin America, Turkey (moving from 52nd to 45th) in Central and Eastern Europe, and Kazakhstan (improving twelve positions rom 55th to 43rd) and Georgia (rising from 88th to 65th place) in the CIS region.GITR 2013 - Cover_Page_001

But while these emerging countries experienced gains in their Networked Readiness, other emerging economies are not making progress in narrowing the divide. So what can countries do to boost broadband adoption in order to capture economic growth and employment benefits?

My colleague, John Garrity, and I focus on this question in our GITR chapter examining national broadband and ICT plans. (Chapter 1.3, “Convergent Objectives, Divergent Strategies: A Taxonomy of National Broadband and ICT Plans”)

We found that governments seeking to expand broadband adoption emphasize policies that focus on fostering demand as well as broadband supply. (Figure 1)

Pepper - GITR Blog Fig1

Broad-based plans are the most comprehensive and incorporate a wide range of policy recommendations on both supply- and demand-side dimensions. Examples of broad-based country plans include the United States (2010) and Qatar (2011).

Supply-driven plans focus on actions to build out infrastructure and increase broadband availability through competition and investment policies; they also include direct action to reach underserved populations. Country examples include Australia (2009), Germany (2009) and the United Kingdom (2010).

Demand-driven plans focus on intensifying the utilization of broadband and ICTs to drive economic growth such as in Morocco (2008) and Poland (2008).

A minority of plans are limited in both the supply- and demand-sides. However, even these Emergent plans are valuable as they begin a national conversation on broadband.

The taxonomy we developed (see Figure 2) establishes a common language governments can use as they develop their national broadband plan and provides a way to identify gaps in current broadband policy environments. Countries without a cohesive national broadband plan risk losing ground in terms of global competitiveness.

Pepper - GITR Blog Fig2

Read more about the GITR 2013 report, sponsored by Cisco, at http://reports.weforum.org/global-information-technology-report-2013/

Watch the unveiling of the GITR 2013 live at: http://new.livestream.com/wef/2013ITReport

Download the Cisco contributed chapter featuring our new taxonomy for national broadband plans: GITR 2013 – chapter 1.3 Convergent Objectives, Divergent Strategies CISCO

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Expanding Mobility with Community Wi-Fi: 40% of Consumers Regularly Connect to the Internet in a Friend’s Home

English poet John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” The same could be said for a man’s — or woman’s — home network, which today is no longer his or hers alone. Friends and family increasingly expect to be able to connect their growing number of mobile devices to the Internet when they are at someone else’s home. In response, service providers (SPs) are creating Wi-Fi communities to enable users to connect safely and seamlessly to SPs’ Wi-Fi networks from other customers’ locations. Not only do SPs understand that there is pent-up customer demand for this sort of “community Wi-Fi” — they also realize that this model makes good business sense. This sort of service will enable them to expand the size of their Wi-Fi network quickly, differentiate their broadband offerings, acquire new customers, and manage customer churn.

Many SPs are now trying to understand how they can create a community Wi-Fi network among their broadband customers and reap new business benefits. However, there has been very little information available on customer behaviors to help SPs design a winning program and build the business case for further investment. To learn more, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) conducted a survey of 1,060 Canadian mobile users to understand their needs and behaviors, their Read More »

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Probing Deeper into Minority Broadband Usage

Howard Baldwin - Photograph

By Howard Baldwin, Contributing Columnist

John Horrigan spends a lot of time worrying about the digital divide – the chasm that divides certain demographic sectors when it comes to accessing information, transacting business, and interacting with government.

I wrote about this last year in Broadband: Exploring The Demographic Patterns, but Horrigan has dug a little deeper, both in his former position with Pew Internet Research and his current position as vice-president and director of the Media and Technology Institute at Washington, D.C.’s Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

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