This annual report offers a wealth of information on the worldwide development of broadband and the emergence of trans-sector strategies. Unique case studies of broadband development in the key markets are provided, including a focus on Australia where an innovative roll-out of a National Broadband Network is underway. Smart cities and communities are also discussed in this report and supported by examples from around the world. The concept of Open Access networks is explored as it is a key element to successful trans-sector initiatives.
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All around the world there is a great deal of dissatisfaction regarding healthcare, education, energy and many other services provided by governments; over the last 10-15 years the quality of these services has deteriorated sharply. Some governments are now acknowledging that it is time for a new approach and are looking at the potential synergies between the building of roads, sewerage systems, water and gas pipe networks, as well as telecoms and electricity networks.
If we want to move forward we will have to at least partly dismantle the current system based on a silo structure and begin looking for cross-sector points that will help us create a new arrangement. Many new opportunities will arise if we can create a system based on synergy.
While in the developed markets, Fibre-to-the-Home will be the leading infrastructure force behind this economic and social transformation; mobile broadband will deliver these changes in the developing world. Nobody needs to miss out on these benefits as long as governments take a leadership role both in developing infrastructure and trans-sector policies.
FttH infrastructure investments (telecoms and smart grids) should be deployed in such a way as to create a social and economic multiplier effect for a whole range of sectors that use it independently of each other, including healthcare, education, energy, water, transport and community services, as well as for entertainment and high-speed Internet access.
These broadband networks must be based on a national vision and in this regard, Australia has become a great example for other countries. It was the first country in the world to implement such a vision; thanks to the government leadership supporting the roll-out of a National Broadband Network (NBN). The USA soon followed and is now showing real leadership as well, along with a few other countries around the world.
A key element of a trans-sector initiative is incorporating Open Access principles. Open networks will result in a far more effective and efficient use of other infrastructure and are the next step in the evolution of telecom infrastructure. Open networks provide users with full control of the services and applications that can be made available over high-speed broadband infrastructure.
Open networks also means a democratisation of the telecom infrastructure. Most of the current limitations (bundled products and services, portals, high access charges, net neutrality issues) are artificial because of the vertically-integrated nature of the closed network operators. Open networks will give the control and innovation capabilities back to the users and will put an end to the net neutrality debate.
The outcome of trans-sector thinking should be a tangible improvement to the lifestyle of the global population. One only has to look at the transforming nature of mobile comms in developing countries - within five years comms penetration in many of these countries went from under 10% to close to 80%. It is transforming these societies, not just in relation to communications, but around access to micro-credits, m-payments and Internet access in general. Healthcare and education will not be far behind.
Smart communities based on intelligent infrastructure and a holistic approach are beginning to emerge around the world and there are now many examples of new initiatives addressing environmental issues; e-health delivery; e-education; e-government and digital media and Internet services.
This report provides valuable insights and analysis into the key trends taking place in terms of broadband development and trans-sector initiatives. The report includes an introduction to the concept of trans-sector strategy and further explores its importance when developing fast broadband networks. The report also discusses Open Networks which are a key element of a trans-sector vision. The report provides insight into the development of a National Broadband Network, using Australia as a key example. Many other countries around the world are also developing broadband initiatives and the report includes unique case studies to demonstrate this. The report also examines the key elements of smart communities and provides examples of some of the interesting developments taking place around the world.
Governments can justify the costs of implementing fast broadband networks by using them to cut cost in sectors such as healthcare, education, transport and energy. While Japan continues to lead the world in terms of the number of FTTx subscribers; South Korea has the highest penetration in the world and was the first country to reach over 50% penetration of households using FTTx. The USA and parts of Europe are also rolling out fibre, although there is concern that parts of Europe are lagging behind. There are now a dozen or so countries around the world whose governments are actively investigating the social and economic benefits that can be achieved through the deployment of (mainly) fibre-based telecoms infrastructure. They have all come to the conclusion that these benefits cannot be achieved simply via the market forces within the current telecoms industry.The current USA government shares the vision for a wide-ranging trans-sector use of broadband infrastructure for social and economic benefits.Asia makes a strong claim to be leading the world when it comes to the development of broadband Internet. In fact, after the mobile market, broadband has been the fastest growing telecom market segment in Asia. The energetic expansion of broadband, however, has remained more of a phenomenon limited to the developed economies, with narrowband dial-up access continuing to be the norm in most of the poorer developing countries of the region.With a promising economic outlook and rising prosperity, demand for broadband in Brazil is expected to soar. As a result, Brazil’s government has been drawing up plans to spread broadband across the vast country in one of the world’s largest infrastructure projects.Many African governments have co-sponsored new international submarine fibre optic cables along the continent’s east and west coasts, with the aim to improve broadband connectivity.Middle East governments see advanced telecommunications and ubiquitous broadband as being a catalyst for economic growth and a means to both attract and aid business development. International submarine cable connections to the region are good due to its advantageous geographic position between Europe, India and East Asia.Amsterdam is unique and has gained worldwide attention because it plans to have its smart city concept well under way by 2012, including the initial implementation of smart grid technology which would see smart meters installed in homes (to be completed by 2016). The basis of the Smart approach is citynet, the large FttH program run on a very innovative, PPP based and horizontally unbundled business model.Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.