The report suggests countries that have a fixed, clear-defined vision for broadband penetration are “out-performing” those who are not interested in broadband development.
Countries with broadband plans are penetrating the market up to 8.7 per cent higher than those without plans, while mobile broadband penetrates up to 7.4 per cent higher on average for those with fixed plans.
Dr Hamadoun Toure, the ITU’s secretary-general, said the power of broadband is immense as it can transform the economic sector and is gaining more global traction.
“Governments are realising that broadband networks are not just vital to national competitiveness, but to the delivery of education, healthcare, public utilities like energy and water, environmental management, and a host of government services,” he said.
Dr Robert Pepper, vice president of global technology policy for Cisco Systems, said: “Plans accelerate economic growth and increase national competitiveness.”
The report is based on a study that analysed the progress of fixed broadband plans. It was conducted by ITU, the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and Cisco Systems.
In South Africa, the government is targeting 100 per cent broadband penetration by 2020.
The 2011 Census revealed that 65 per cent of South African households did not have access to mainstream internet and used their mobile phones to connect.
The Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA) today called for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to promote greater competition within the mobile data market by increasing the short-term broadband penetration.
“If Government is serious about using broadband as a catalyst for growth, then it must use its policy, legislative and regulatory powers to open this space up for competition and bring the prices down,” said ISPA regulatory advisor Dominic Cull.
BuddeComm, a global independent telecommunications research company, found that in Africa, commercial DSL services are available mainly in poor geographical locations, but there are improvements to internet access in major capitals.