“Broadband is Fourth Essential Infrastructure”

December 2, 2008 - 1 Comment

It’s not my opinion. Most citizens and businesses in emerging markets cities (from Buenos Aires, Johannesburg to St Petersburg) think their local governments should play a role to facilitate Internet access and provide services online, according to a new survey, Cities Net Opportunities (.pdf document)And probably there is no better time to do it than right now. In the past, governments build highways and bridges as a public expenditure policy to create jobs and contribute to the well being during challenging times. Today, the network, in this case broadband connections and network infrastructure, is the essential facility to create jobs, generate productivity gains and competitiveness, and let a country compete in the information economy-and its cost is a fraction of the cost of other types of basic infrastructure.If you consider that less than 5% of the population have broadband connections in emerging markets (some countries less than 1%); that those who have Internet connections have seen great benefits.There are other findings from the Cities survey nice to consider: – Skills and then accessibility and cost are seen as the barriers to greater use of the Internet by both citizens and businesses.- The people with a PC at home access the Internet more frequently than those who use one at work or at an Internet cafe. This shows that to improve the frequency and use of the Internet, the PC at home seems to be a key factor.- Citizens generally do not feel that access via mobile phones will satisfy their connectivity needs. – Citizens ‘thirst’ for online services regardless of their experience using the Internet:- Those that already use online services expect to continue using and potentially expand their use and many consider these online services to be worth paying for.- Those not currently using the Internet and those who do so infrequently expect to use online services in the future nearly to the same degree as now-regular users.- Citizens have even greater interest in (and willingness to pay for) new value added-services like education or healthcare than online version of transactions.Probably it’s the time to start considering broadband as the fourth essential infrastructure, along with energy, water and transport. Especially in emerging markets. Post by Felipe Lamus, PR Manager, Emerging Markets

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  1. FYI, the comparison has been made before.Broadband Policy: Lessons Learned, The U.S. Interstate Highway Systemhttp://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/3896/comm5.html