The world is shifting from narrowband to broadband. Services that
were only available in the form of static, text-based websites a decade
ago are now offered in full-motion, high-definition video. A whole new
generation of Internet entrepreneurs is ready to take their ideas to
the stock market.
Nevertheless, a gap remains between the developed and the developing
world when it comes to broadband. The digital divide that was once
measured in terms of differences in access to communications is now
measured in terms of differences in quality of access. Slow speeds for
download translate into lost economic opportunity. Yet the evidence
seems to suggest that, where broadband is available in developing
countries, it is a major contributor to economic growth. The developing
world has adopted mobile phones much more readily than tethered ones,
so as mobile broadband becomes more readily available, a further boost
to growth can be expected. In line with this growth, the United Nations
recently declared that broadband access is a basic human right.
A decade ago, info Dev and the World Bank’s Information
and Communication Technology Sector Unit joined forces with the
International Telecommunication Union to develop the
Telecommunication Regulation Handbook, a bestseller that was
updated and reissued in 2010.
Broadband Strategies Handbook is intended as a
next-generation tool for policy makers, regulators, and other relevant
stakeholders as they address issues related to broadband development.
It aims to help readers, particularly those in developing countries, in
identifying issues and challenges in broadband development, analyzing
potential solutions to consider, and providing practical examples from
countries that have addressed broadband- related matters. It goes
beyond the regulatory issues and looks more broadly at the challenges
of promoting and universalizing broadband access. It will also form the
basis for a toolkit-http://www.broadband-toolkit.org-that complements
other toolkits and technical assistance guides available from the World
Bank Group. Consider this handbook as a living resource that will grow
as the broadband market worldwide grows.
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