Broadband is seen as a key infrastructure for developing the information society. For this reason many Governments are actively engaged in stimulating investments in broadband infrastructures and use of broadband services. This chapter compares a wide range of broadband strategies in the most successful markets for broadband. This is done through analysis of national policies in three European countries—Denmark, Sweden, and Germany—and the U.S., Japan, and South Korea. We concluded that successful implementation of broadband depends on the kind of policy measures to be taken at the national level. Many countries have provided active support for stimulating diffusion of broadband and national variants of this type of policies in different countries are important for an explanation of national differences in adoption of broadband.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Broadband Policy: Most countries have adopted policy measures within the area of broadband. The most common policy objectives are: development of a broadband infrastructure offering universal access to high bandwidth and development of broadband content service.
Facilitation: The objective of facilitation is to ensure a good environment at the market for broadband services. One example could be establishment of industry for a development of common visions and standards.
eEurope: The eEurope program was initiated in 2000 as a part of the Lisbon Process to ensure that the EU will fully benefit from opportunities of the information society. The objectives are to make communication services including broadband widely available, to stimulate content development and improve e-literacy, all in a way that strengthens social cohesion. The first eEurope program has been followed by the eEurope 2005 and i2010 programs.
Regulation: Regulatory measures include obligations on interconnection and local loop unbundling as well as other measures supporting new entrants in their competition with the incumbent operators. Regulation may be an important tool for stimulating investments in communication infrastructures.
Direct Intervention: This involves public funding or direct public participation in infrastructure or content development. Direct intervention in infrastructure development is concentrated in rural and less favored regions.
i2010: i2010 is a follow up of the eEurope program. The program objectives are a single European information space, innovation and investment in research, and inclusion, better public services, and quality of life. The program builds on the same principles as eEurope.
E-Japan and U-Japan: The e-Japan Strategy was launched in January 2001 and intended to make Japan “the world’s most advanced IT nation by2005”. In July 2003 the focus shifted from original infrastructure development to promotion of IT use, and formation of a ubiquitous network society by 2010 as the goal of the infrastructure development for a new IT society allowing connection to networks “anytime, anywhere, by anything and anyone.”
IT839 Plan: The IT839 Strategy refers to 20 policies for the development of the Korean IT industry worked out by the Ministry of Information and Communication in 2004. The strategy consists of a series of plans to develop eight telecommunications services, three infrastructure systems, and nine new technologies for growth engines. The plan has been followed by the u-IT839 strategy where the u stands for ubiquity.
Lisbon Process: At a summit in Lisbon in March 2000, European leaders set the goal of the EU becoming “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world” by 2010. The target was a 3% average annual economic growth and the creation of 20 million jobs by 2010. The Lisbon process been followed by numerous initiatives within the ICT area including eEurope and i2010.