Proper Use & Broadband Requirements for a more Effective Public Policy

The social and economic impact of broadband depends on its use by productive and social sectors. The applications with greatest potential for social benefit are those aimed at improving the efficiency and effectiveness of services such as education, health care and governance. However, their development is much more limited than those dedicated to entertainment. The true economic and social potential of electronic applications resides in their advanced use, which is only possible with high-speed broadband Internet, which in turn depends on the type of infrastructure and technology used by the network. The continuous, secure provision of social services requires high standards of connectivity associated with adequate infrastructure. The connectivity requirements for health care and education applications are particularly high in terms of speed and latency (that is, the delay in Internet communication due to data transmission lag). These sectors require high-level broadband. In comparison, video downloading and social networking applications have varied broadband requirements and are less affected by latency (Figure 5.5). Broadband applications help to improve governance by streamlining the internal functioning of administrative units, facilitating the provision of services to the public and providing access to information. The development of integrated transactional services requires the restructuring of internal management processes, network infrastructure and systems and equipment that support this action. Permanent connectivity makes more sophisticated, one-stop-shop platforms viable for public procurement. Despite progress in the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure and the adoption of ICTs over the last 20 years, the region faces significant challenges to exploit the benefits from broadband as a platform for social and economic development. These challenges are highlighted by the growing gap in high-speed Internet adoption (Figure 5.6).

Figure 5.5

Bandwidth Requirements by Type of Application

Kbps: kilobytes per second | Mbps: megabytes per second | Gbps: gigabytes per second

Figure 5.6

Latin America, Caribbean & OECD: Fixed & Mobile Broadband Subscribers

(Per 100 Inhabitants) | Regional Average is a Simple Average