Broadband and telecom

The development of broadband access in rural and remote areas


Link to this report (pdf document)

71 pages

As the development of broadband access builds momentum, policy makers are increasingly turning their attention to the availability of these services in rural and remote areas. The economic and social case for developing broadband access is very strong and takes on added significance for rural and remote communities, where improved communications can address a variety of challenges posed by distance.

This report builds on earlier work by the OECD on the development of broadband access.2 The paper further strengthens the case made in “Universal service obligations and broadband” which argued that governments should act cautiously in providing financial assistance for the development of broadband, or including it as part of universal service obligations, until a clearer picture emerged of how new technologies and services, and the competitive market, could be used to foster broadband access in rural and remote regions.

The report reviews progress on the availability of broadband access across the OECD area. It particularly focuses on benchmarking digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable modem expansion and availability, as well as the emergence of broadband wireless as a platform to provide low-cost high-performance access networks in rural and remote areas. The paper finds that DSL availability is proceeding apace, with around three-quarters of existing subscriber lines being able to provide service by 2003. Cable networks pass 58% of households with just under three-quarters of those networks having been upgraded for broadband access. The paper also explores the increasing capabilities of wireless networks and lower equipment costs that are enabling a considerable amount of new entry into the telecommunication services market. This is most evident in urban areas where public and private wireless LANs are proliferating. However, it is also evident in the provision of broadband access in rural areas, the subject of this document. The amount of new entry by Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) in rural areas is virtually unprecedented.

Table of contents :

- Main points
- Introduction
- Broadband availability
- Country updates : Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States

- Notes 
- Appendix 1: Selected data for OECD Countries



Related Documents