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New Report: Next Generation Connectivity

13 March, 2010
By Allison Orr

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society has released the final version of their report, Next Generation Connectivity: A Review of broadband transitions and policy from around the world.  The report is for the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review existing broadband deployment through the world in order to inform the FCC’s efforts in developing the National Broadband Plan.  The report was released in draft format in October 2009, after which hundreds of pages of comments were submitted.  This is the final version as submitted to the FCC.

The report evaluates different countries’ broadband policies.  Through a benchmarking process, based on three attributes – penetration, capacity and price – the report hopes to learn from the success and failures of others about what practices and policies to implement.

Australia is one of the 11 countries that is evaluated in detail.  The report provides a brief history of broadband in Australia, showing that it began slowly when launched in 2000, with only about a third of the OECD average users 2 years later.  Even by 2004 Australia was still 20th in the OECD.  From 2009 data, Australia’s broadband take-up (52% of households have broadband) and average speeds are now above the OECD average, but well behind global leaders.

The fastest growing broadband access technology is wireless, with 1.7 million new wireless subscribers in the 18 months before June 2009.  Twenty-seven per cent of all broadband subscribers are now wireless.

The issue of price is where Australia stands out from the OECD average.  Prices are comparatively high (prices were all in the most expensive two quintiles), and Australia is one of just four OECD countries where all advertised plans are capped.  Furthermore, once the cap was reached, the average price per additional Mbps was the highest in the OECD.

The full report is very detailed, and can be downloaded for free from the above link.

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