Developing nations must create an environment for broadband to flourish if they are to enjoy the increased economic growth, new jobs, innovation and enhanced national competitiveness that the technology allows.
The key to broadband deployment in developing countries is reliant on the government of that country being able to create an enabling environment, according to Intel. Through this enabling environment, communities and countries can achieve the critical mass necessary to lower costs and achieve all the potential benefits of broadband connectivity.
Intel believes there is a handful of best practices that governments should have in place to ensure successful deployment. It has worked with many countries to bring together government departments and ministries and helped them work together with telecommunications companies and other industry groups.
Supportive regulations are essential in order to spread broadband access in developing countries at a pace fast enough to compete with the rest of the world as it requires simpler and more market-based regulations and policies. As stated in a report from the World Summit on the Information Society: "Trustworthy, transparent and non-discriminatory legal, regulatory and policy environment in necessary to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits of the information society."
Increased competition is essential if the consumer is to benefit from lower costs.
According to Danie Steyn, sub-Saharan regional business manager at Intel, when policy and regulatory reforms are considered the encouragement of competition should be a priority, as competition is critical to market growth seen in nearly 80% of countries worldwide.
Transparent national policies and regulatory frameworks can promote a competitive environment that attracts investment, drives down prices and make large-scale rollout more affordable.
"Encouraging competition is not always easy or popular. The innovations sparked by broadband and the digital economy it supports can be disruptive to the status quo, sparking political demands to insulate particular segments of the economy," he says.
Policies should be weighed carefully to ensure consumers are protected while at the same time avoiding over-regulation and unnecessary protection of incumbents. However, such measures cost the larger society much more than they benefit the incumbent interests they are intended to protect.
In addition, governments need to invest in essential infrastructure and technology.
"Broadband networks are not helpful without a reliable power supply and the widespread availability of personal computers," says Steyn. "Particularly in developing nations, where the infrastructure is not likely to be fully developed, investment is necessary to support the intermediate infrastructure – including everything from utilities to computers – that, in turn, enables successful diffusion of broadband networks.
"For governments, the bottom line is that broadband must be supported by essential infrastructure that includes for instance, reliable electricity and dependable roads. Over time, investments in the general infrastructure in combination with investments ICT initiatives will enable successful and sustainable broadband deployments," he says.