Connectivity in Emerging Regions: The Need for Improved Technology and Business Models
journal contributionposted on 01.01.2007, 00:00 by Rahul Tongia
The digital divide is a pressing challenge for both technology and policy professionals. Connectivity is one aspect of the divide, albeit an important one. Availability and affordability remain important issues, but these depend on not only technology choices, but also business and regulatory models. While mobile phones have achieved spectacular growth in emerging regions, Internet access, especially broadband, lags far behind. A generalized model of costing broadband indicates that limited uplinking (interconnection) is a significant barrier to widespread and affordable connectivity, but last mile access also remains a challenge. In addition, policy distortions and regulations raise costs dramatically. Because of these, new technologies, business models, and regulations may be required to make connectivity available and affordable in emerging economies. These include advanced wireless technologies, greater fiber utilization, and open access networking.