Nº 10 2012 > Global Symposium for Regulators | Special report
The session on strategies for bringing broadband close, moderated by Ananda Raj Khanal, Director (Acting Chief of Office) of Nepal’s Telecommunication Authority, addressed: development of public-private-partnerships to foster investment in broadband NGN networks; bottom-up or top-down approaches; how pursuing the accessibility market opens up new business opportunities; and understanding who the non-adopters are and marketing services for their needs. Participants also discussed how regulators can promote accessibility and inclusion for today’s non-adopters, whether regulators should monitor investment, and what regulatory incentives should be provided.
Matt Yardley, Partner at Analysys Mason and author of the discussion paper “Developing successful Public-Private Partnerships to foster investment in universal broadband networks”, said there was no single best model for broadband deployment, but it was clear that private-sector investment alone could not deliver universal broadband, so there was a need for intervention by policy-makers.
Axel Leblois, Executive Director, G3ict, Global Initiative for Inclusive ICT, explained that non-adopters of broadband make up about one-third of the world population, and one-third of the non-adopters of broadband are persons with disabilities. While many regulators around the world have taken steps to reach people with disabilities, the level of implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is low. Public private-partnerships are necessary to promote accessibility.
Mr Khanal added that non-adopters and people with disabilities represent untapped potential, and regulators and the ICT industry have a responsibility to reach and serve those people, who have so far been excluded.
Gabrielle Gauthey, Executive Vice-President Global Government & Public Affairs, Alcatel-Lucent, said that the dramatic growth in data is both a challenge and an opportunity. The private sector is encountering increasing difficulties in funding the huge investment required by the growth in data. Governments should step in to manage scarce resources such as spectrum. Some innovative solutions are emerging from developing countries. Public interventions must operate to stimulate private investment, while minimizing public funding.
Mohamed Sharil Tarmizi, Chairman, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), said that every country should examine its own situation and decide which path to take. In Malaysia, broadband is treated like a public utility, such as water or electricity. The country is divided into zones, and in Zone 1 — big cities with high population density — there is no need for public funds, while in Zones 2 and 3 some initiatives are being financed through the universal service fund.