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World Broadband Association (WBBA) launches inaugural Broadband and Cloud Development Index at Network X, tracking and benchmarking global broadband and cloud penetration

  • US and China lead rankings, but achieve leadership in different ways
  • Germany lags behind, ranking 14th for broadband, with just 6% FTTH broadband penetration
  • Broadband Development Congress sees keynotes from leading global organisations such as the World Economic Forum and UN’s International Telecommunication Union

 

The World Broadband Association (WBBA), has revealed the findings from its inaugural Broadband and Cloud Development Index (BCDI) at the Broadband Development Congress, at Network X, Paris. Tracking the development of the broadband and cloud markets across 21 countries from five continents, representing over half of the world’s population and over three-quarters of global GDP, the report is designed to identify best-in-class performance at country level, highlighting the most critical drivers for the continued development of the sector and making clear the investment case for broadband and cloud infrastructure.

Unveiled by Martin Creaner, Director General, WBBA, key findings from the report include:

  • The US ranks first in the BCDI, powered by its leading performance in cloud and strong showing in broadband. Although the US has not traditionally led developments in the global broadband market, government funding to expand access has increased dramatically since the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is the clear global leader in the cloud market
  • China ranks second overall, and stands out as the only country to achieve a top ranking despite having a GDP per capita well below the index average. It has benefited from successful government and industry initiatives that have made it a leading broadband and cloud market
  • Germany is ranked 12th overall with a below-average score in broadband, ranked 14th in the segment with a rate of just 6% FTTH broadband penetration, tied with levels in India and South Africa. Its performance in broadband is a concern given it is the fourth-largest economy in the world, with a GDP per capita of $46,846. Other advanced European markets to achieve below-average broadband penetration scores include Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy
  • Brazil is notable in the index considering it is a developing market, with a particularly high FTTH broadband penetration rate of 35%, but due to other challenges ranks 17th overall for broadband, with lower fixed line penetration

 

The BCDI is designed to share best practices in an effort to help industry stakeholders—including policymakers, regulators, service providers and suppliers—to support the development and growth of the broadband and cloud industries in their countries. Its aim is to help them remove any barriers to broadband implementation by developing policies and investments to improve digital infrastructure and drive economic growth and broader social benefits.

This core purpose of the BCDI was brought to life at the WBBA’s Broadband Development Congress, where the report was launched. Marking the one-year anniversary of the founding of the WBBA, which now has 48 members representing the voice of the global broadband industry, the event bought together diverse global stakeholders from across the industry, sharing the perspectives of financial investors, governments driving change, regulators setting the stage, and application providers shaping the future.

The event featured a series of keynote speakers from policy makers, leading broadband providers and end-user case studies who showed the real benefits of broadband in action. Highlight guest speakers included:

  • Tomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary-General at the United Nations’ International Telecommunication Union – who outlined broadband role as the fabric for development and the engine for underlying digital public infrastructure, and highlighted the challenges the world faces in sustainably connecting the 2/3rds of low income countries that are still offline

 

  • Simon Lacey, Head of Digital Trade and Geopolitics at the World Economic Forum – who outlined broadband and cloud’s key role in driving global economic growth and job creation, social inclusion & equality and innovation, and technological progress

 

  • David Wilkins, Head of Smart City at Westminster City Council – who shared a case study of broadband policy in action for the London Borough, which massively boosted connectivity rates through direct investment and intervention, with an estimated economic benefit of £802m to the borough per annum since the programme launched in 2016

 

Commenting on the findings of the report and the discussions at the event, Martin Creaner, Director General, WBBA, said “With the outsize role that the internet will play in the coming decade, it is critically important for governments to act more decisively to support the development of high-quality broadband infrastructure. Our report found that across all the countries, a 10% increase in fixed broadband penetration will lead to a 0.77% increase in GDP per capita. There is therefore a need for cloud providers and broadband providers to collaborate more at the industry level to support harmonisation of relevant standards and product certification, which the WBBA is working hard to facilitate. This will support the development of new converged broadband cloud infrastructure and business models, enabling the next phase of digital growth.”

Dr Li Zhengmao, Chairman of the Board, World Broadband Association, added: “Although broadband is increasingly seen as critical infrastructure alongside utilities such as electricity and water, the provision of broadband infrastructure is more complicated because access alone is not enough. A more nuanced view needs to be developed to encourage stakeholders to support and invest in next generation broadband infrastructure to enable the digital applications and services vital to economic growth and social development. We hope that the findings of the BCDI and the key discussions from the BDC will help to galvanise all in the industry to overcome their differences and accelerate the roll out of critical broadband infrastructure.”