TopicsDigital infrastructure

Bringing broadband to rural and remote areas

Bridging the rural digital divide

What are the recent policy and technology approaches to bridging the digital divide in rural and remote areas in OECD countries? Experience in OECD countries with fibre optics, coaxial cable, copper, fixed and mobile wireless, satellites and hybrid approaches as well as with emerging technologies are used to illustrate some of the technological trends discussed in this paper. It also includes a summary of common challenges and good practices to bring improved communication services to individuals and communities in rural and remote regions.


The evolving role of satellite networks in rural and remote broadband access

Based on new and anticipated satellite broadband deployments, this report describes key recent developments in extending services to underserved areas in relation to other broadband options. It investigates important policy challenges to be considered in light of such innovation.


Broadband statistics

Policy makers must examine a range of indicators which reflect the status of individual broadband markets.

The OECD broadband portal provides access to a range of broadband-related statistics gathered by the OECD in five main categories:

  • Penetration and data usage
  • Household and business usage
  • Coverage and geography
  • Prices
  • Speeds

>> See also OECD key ICT indicators

Digital Economy Outlook

The OECD Digital Economy Outlook 2017 examines and documents evolutions and emerging opportunities and challenges in the digital economy. It highlights how OECD countries and partner economies are taking advantage of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet to meet their public policy objectives. Through comparative evidence, it informs policy makers of regulatory practices and policy options to help maximise the potential of the digital economy as a driver for innovation and inclusive growth.

A chapter looks specifically at access and connectivity with sections on communication markets and broadband networks, examining recent trends and structural features.

Broadband Policies for Latin America and the Caribbean

Broadband Policies for Latin America and the Caribbean: A Digital Economy Toolkit is a joint OECD/InterAmerican Development Bank endeavour that sheds light on good practices and case studies based on a whole-of-government approach. Its aim is to offer public authorities an overview of the policies, regulatory practices and options that can maximise the potential of broadband as a driver of economic and social development.

The 15 chapters of the Toolkit cover a broad array of topics on policy making in relation to broadband development and use, from digital strategies, regulatory frameworks and spectrum management, to competition, access, affordability and taxation. In addition, there are chapters on education, skills and business uptake, as well as digital security and privacy.

>> Explore the toolkit online (also available in Spanish)

>> Get the book (also available in Spanish)

Digital economy papers

The Internet of Things: Seizing the Benefits and Addressing the Challenges

The Internet of Things represents the next step in convergence between ICTs and the economy on an unprecedented scale, with estimates indicating that 25 billion devices will be connected by 2020. Network connectivity, widespread sensor placement and sophisticated data analytics enable applications to aggregate and act on large amounts of data generated by devices in homes, work places and the natural world. This aggregated data can drive innovation, research and marketing, holding the promise to substantially contribute to further economic growth and social prosperity. However, the degree of adoption and ability to reap its benefits will largely depend on the capacity of governments to create adequate policy and regulatory frameworks in key areas including telecommunications, security, privacy and consumer policy. This report provides information on the opportunities and challenges around the Internet of Things and identifies areas for engagement and ease of deployment by all stakeholders.


Digital Convergence and Beyond: Innovation, Investment and Competition in Communication Policy and Regulation for the 21st Century

The digital convergence anticipated during the 2008 Seoul Ministerial has become a reality. Historically, communication services were delivered via single-purpose dedicated networks (e.g. telephone, television). Many OECD countries now function with converged networks, facilitated by the Internet Protocol (IP) in which “bits” are the building blocks for transmission of all content and service – all “applications.” This process of convergence is steadily deepening as technology evolves and more and more activity shifts online. In particular, technological, service and business innovations both at the core and at the edge of the network are significantly affecting competitors, investors and consumers. This report identifies trends in convergence, the opportunities and challenges arising from these changes and suggests policies to meet them.


Developments in International Mobile Roaming

In 2012 the OECD Council adopted on 16 February 2012 the Recommendation of the Council on International Mobile Roaming which provides a set of policy principles to ensure effective competition, consumer awareness and protection, and a fair price level in international mobile roaming services. The objective of this report released in 2016 was to provide an overview of progress made in the implementation of the Recommendation to determine whether any further action is necessary in this area.


>> More Digital Economy Papers