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ITU renews call for affordable broadband

25 сентября 2012

The ITU on Monday warned the cost of broadband in many of the world's poorest economies is still prohibitively expensive.

As part of a new and wide-ranging report, the organisation's Broadband Commission for Digital Development found that prices in some countries have fallen by more than 50% in the last two years, and in 49 economies the price of fixed broadband in particular in 2011 represented less than 2% of the average monthly income. However, cheap broadband is still typically the preserve of the industrialised world.

"Huge discrepancies in affordability persist," claimed the Broadband Commission. In 2011, "broadband access cost more than half of [the] average national income in 30 economies; in 19 of the LDCs (least developed countries), the price of broadband exceeds average monthly income."

The ITU has set a target price of less than 5% of the average monthly income for entry-level broadband services in developing countries by 2015.

The Broadband Commission highlighted a number of areas policy makers should be focusing on to address affordability, such as tiered levels of service, outright price regulation, subsidies and facilitating competition.

"A number of national plans recognize affordability as a key policy priority, including Hungary's National Broadband Strategy, Nigeria's National ICT Policy, and the U.S. National Broadband Plan," it said. "Nevertheless, genuine competition is widely recognized as the most effective means of lowering prices to date."

The report also features several league tables ranking countries by various 2011 metrics, such as fixed broadband penetration, mobile broadband penetration, and percentage of individuals using the Internet.

The tables provide few surprises, with developed economies appearing towards the top, and developing countries towards the bottom.

11 countries including South Korea, Japan, the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, France and Sweden rank in the top 20 in both fixed and mobile broadband penetration. All of those same countries barring the U.S. also appear in the top 20 in terms of the percentage of individuals using the Internet.

When it comes to the opposite end of the scale, the countries lagging behind in terms of fixed broadband penetration are largely located in Africa, apart from a few notable exceptions including Cuba, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Myanmar. The tiny South Pacific republic of Nauru and the Caribbean republic of Haiti occupy the penultimate and last positions respectively. In terms of mobile penetration, eight of the bottom 10 places are held by Caribbean countries.

"The Broadband Commission is committed to ensuring that the benefits of broadband are available to all," insisted ITU secretary general Hamadoun Touré.

Источник: Total Telecom

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