Governments need to do more if countries are to benefit from the broadband revolution.
So says the OECD's (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Committee on Information, Computer and Communications Policy (ICCP), which has published a report detailing the different ways Governments can help the development and roll-out of high speed Net services.
Crucially, it is essential to have competition in telecoms markets and that includes competition between different technologies such as DSL, cable, fixed wireless, and satellite. At the same time, Governments need to flex buying muscles by aggregating public sector demand.
But there is also an acknowledgment that even with the right policies in place, the private sector cannot drive the roll-out of broadband everywhere. In some cases, Governments need to pay special attention to "under-served communities".
The report also included some interesting stats. For example, the number of broadband connections within OECD countries jumped 53 per cent over the last year to 75 million at the end of September, and is expected to top 82 million by the end of 2003.
And it's estimated that revenue from broadband access in OECD countries is currently running at $30 billion a year.
Said Hugo Parr, chairman of the OECD ICCP Committee and DG, Ministry of Trade and Industry of Norway, in a statement: "ICT is a key driver of economic growth, and broadband is probably the single most important, cross-cutting development in ICT at this time.
"Choosing the right policy responses can have an immense impact both for the public and the private sectors." ®