Guide to the OECD technical workshop, 12-13 Oct. 2011


“Broadband and Its Impact on Consumers and Economies: Developing a New Framework for Future Metrics”


Washington, D.C.
October 12-13, 2011


1. Why are we holding this workshop?


Around the world and across OECD member countries, communications policy agencies, communications regulatory agencies and national statistical bodies all collect data on information and communications technology infrastructure, supply, access and use with the goal of understanding its economic and social impact.  Agencies in different countries take different approaches regarding what is key information in this landscape and how it should be collected and analyzed, depending on the mandate of each agency and on their nation’s unique domestic policy interests, perceived needs and dynamics.

The collection and analysis of broadband data is a key component in assessing market outcomes including competitiveness, the availability and use of services to meet policy objectives in the area of communication services. Sound data are also required to inform critical questions about the perceived role of broadband as a facilitator of important economic outcomes such as improved productivity, innovation, and entrepreneurship. 

The workshop will focus on broadband infrastructure, its availability, access and use. A broader understanding of the use of broadband data requires analysis of additional economic and demographic data. In addition to understanding the academic work undertaken by scholars  in this area, this workshop presents an opportunity to bring together various agencies that collect broadband data in the context of economic and demographic data, in order to enable them to share their data and tools, and with the goal of identifying synergies across data collections and possible gaps. While some agencies focus on households and others focus on businesses, all of them share a common interest in understanding the implications of broadband development for their respective policy goals. 

2. How is the workshop structured? [Link to the workshop agenda]

The first day of the workshop is a facilitated but technical discussion focusing on two themes:

  • 1) establishing the link between ICT statistics and productivity/innovation metrics and identifying what further empirical work is needed to support public policy-making in the ICT sector; and
  • 2) Evaluating current approaches to measuring broadband deployment and adoption and considering what new instruments may be required.

The second day of the workshop is designed to reach consensus on the metrics required and the further elaboration needed. The focal point of our work on Day 2 is the OECD “Metrics Checklist” document. Each metric listed in Annex A of the checklist will be discussed individually so that the list can be refined further and used to shape the OECD’s on-going metrics work program as early as 2013-14.
3. How will the workshop be run?

This Workshop is designed to be:

 Informal -- No formal introductions or scripted interventions are envisioned; an “open forum” style is preferred where all participants view each other as peers and fellow collaborators.

• Consensual -- Designated rapporteurs will summarize the consensus reached in each session on the Checklist on Day 2 and map out the work streams required in advance of the proposed follow-up Workshop in London in spring 2012.

• “Disruptive” -- Discussion should be provocative.  Participants should question the underlying premises of the arguments raised while also providing constructive rebuttal of the conclusions offered by presenters.

The workshop will be recorded and uploaded to the OECD portal so that others in the international regulatory and data collection community can benefit from the two-day discussion. All documentation that workshop attendees believe is useful to the proceedings will be placed on a common server (via Wikki or Google docs) about a week before the event and the link will be available to attendees and all others who wish to access the data/presentations in tandem with viewing the recorded sessions.


4. What are the roles of moderators, chairs and discussants, respectively?

• Moderators (DAY 1): Moderators will be responsible for ensuring pre-workshop collaboration among the presenters so that the “Session focus” questions are covered adequately. They will manage the session by briefly introducing the issues; facilitate the course of development of the debate, bring in the discussants’ differing views and challenge them; invite views from the floor and transition to the next session.

• Chairs (DAY 2): Chairs will assume the duties as specified above, but they will also be responsible for guiding consensus on the metrics that are under review in their session.

• Discussants (DAYS 1-2): Discussants will ponder the scope of issues raised in their session before the meeting, in order to put forward stimulating and controversial views.  They will use the questions listed under the “Session focus”  as a foundation for a somewhat narrower presentation under the workshop’s “3-10” rule, offering the audience three main ideas in ten minutes for their reaction and analysis.  This will ensure that the majority of time in a session remains available for a lively and provocative open forum among academics, practitioners and government officials.

5. What are the other “rules of the road” during the two-day event?

• No press will be covering this event.

• Time is a critical commodity and, thus, speaking limits of 10 minutes will be enforced, gently but firmly.

• Powerpoints are encouraged as a means of highlighting a Discussant’s remarks, not to supplant his/her actual presentation and engagement in a spontaneous exchange with others. If a discussant is using Powerpoint, they should send their presentation to their fellow discussants and the moderator (and to the FCC conference assistant by Friday, October 7, 2011. This will ensure that we can “plant the seeds” of discussion for the session participants and allow the Moderator to coordinate the session more fully.


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