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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

East Asia Leads in Broadband Planning while Europe Lags Behind

Singapore, Japan, and South Korea remain the most ambitious in the world when it comes to broadband services, according to a new study from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Now in its third edition, the government broadband report shows that East Asian governments are targeting faster services and greater coverage than other countries. Already considered some of the most advanced broadband economies in the world, all three will significantly extend their lead if they meet targets.

Each has an official plan to provide 1Gbps services within the next two to five years, and both Singapore and Japan aim to cover more than 90% of households with these services over that time frame.

"In Europe, governments have been focused on addressing regional and rural areas the private sector would struggle to serve profitably," says Iain Morris, editor of the report. "As a result, target speeds tend to range from 20Mbps to 50Mbps for between 75% and 90% of households." Northern countries, including Estonia, Finland and Sweden, are typically more aggressive, targeting speeds of 100Mbps for between 90% and 100% of households within the next five to 10 years.

Approaches vary in other parts of the world, although higher levels of public-sector funding per household covered generally correspond to more government intervention. Australia is spending the most in public-sector funds per household covered of any country in the world, with a government plan to create, own and operate an ultra-fast network in almost all parts of the country. In the US and Canada, governments are mainly focused on reducing the so-called 'digital divide' by funding network rollout in rural areas.

Full speed ahead: The government broadband report Q3 2011 features up-to-date reviews of more than 50 national government plans for broadband development, with comparable metrics for 40 countries. Specifically, the report addresses the following questions:

  • What targets are set for next-generation network (NGN) speed and coverage?
  • By when do governments want to see basic broadband services universally available, and what does 'basic' mean in terms of speed?
  • How do countries compare in terms of universal and NGN broadband targets?
  • How much public funding has been pledged for the attainment of these targets and how do countries compare?
  • How are governments acting to facilitate the plans through regulation and by intervening directly in market and network development?
  • What role does the private sector play in government plans?
  • What is the current status of the plans and of industry involvement in them?

The report contains more than 65 tables and charts, while the supporting Excel file includes more than 800 current data points, allowing easy cross-country comparisons on a wide range of metrics, including target speeds (for universal and superfast broadband services), target coverage levels and timeframes and public-funding commitments (total, per covered household and as a percentage of total fixed-line retail revenues and government budget revenues).

An abridged copy of the executive summary is available to download free of charge

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