Recommendations for Boosting Broadband
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Every year, the Commission makes a number of policy recommendations aimed at improving broadband networks and services. This year, based on the analysis in this report, the Commission presents eight recommendations:
5.1 Build National Leadership for Broadband
A strong commitment to broadband as a cross-cutting technology that can trigger development transformation is needed at the highest level. A high-level champion in the government can help ensure that broadband can receive the necessary political support and resources. It is essential to find the right combination of complementary technologies to bridge the digital divide. This implies technology-neutral digital strategies and national broadband plans covering the mix of technologies that can be used to bridge the digital divide.
5.2 Promote Training and Measures to Stimulate Demand
Broadband connectivity alone — without sufficient consumer and business demand — is not sufficient, and programmes and measures are needed to address the demand. Successful broadband and ICT plans must include a variety of demand-side programmes, especially in the initial stages of deployment, to generate public interest and boost investment. Viewpoint 28 explores a range of demand programmes for improving broadband adoption.
5.3 Benchmark and Monitor ICT Developments
Limited data on the ICT sector can restrict the scope for evidence-based policy-making. National accounts data on the ICT sector may be published at an aggregate level, making it difficult to meaningfully gauge development of the broadband sector and identify weaknesses. National statistics systems, benchmarking and analysis generally need to be improved to understand and interpret the dynamics of broadband diffusion across the economy. Better understanding of network deployment and use can help inform policy and advance progress towards universal service.
5.4 Review Universal Service Measures, including RoW regulations
Benchmarking exercises of universal service measures can help define and identify rural, remote, and low-population density communities that need broadband coverage and that cannot be served by terrestrial media, in the national context. This urgent need to serve rural populations should be reflected in government policies and regulations. This can include reforms to Rights of Way (RoW) regulations. Viewpoint 29 considers some reforms to further improve connectivity in connected areas.
5.5 Strengthen Digital Skills & Literacy
Digital skills and digital literacy need to be strengthened to enhance beneficial and productive uses of broadband and broadband take-up. Learning opportunities need to be improved and reinforced to recognize learning achievements in different contexts. Teachers need to be empowered, rather than disenfranchised, through integrated cross-government approaches involving all relevant Ministries. Such initiatives should be designed to be inclusive, so marginalized groups and communities are able to access appropriate learning opportunities.
5.6 Support Local e-Businesses and Local Entrepreneurship
Local e-business needs to be supported to make productive use of broadband. This includes facilitating local entrepreneurship, access to capital and a supportive legal and regulatory environment. This includes bringing more MSMEs online by providing training and subsidized broadband packages where necessary.
5.7 Review and adapt legal frameworks to take into account digitalization
A number of laws may need to be reviewed and/or adapted to take into account the effects of digitalization. Many developing countries lack adequate digital frameworks, laws and safeguards such as recognizing electronic transactions, protecting consumers online, strengthening cybersecurity, ensuring privacy and safeguarding of personal data. The protection of personal data is becoming particularly important with vast amounts of personal data moving from LDCs to multinational companies, as broadband use for global platforms increases.
5.8 Reduce taxes and Import Duties on Telecom/ICT Equipment and Services
Tax reductions on telecommunication products and services can help make them more affordable to more people, and boost demand and take-up. As part of the measures to take to make broadband goods and services more affordable, Governments may wish to consider reducing taxes and import duties on telecommunication/ICT equipment and services.