According to a recent report released by the technology consultants, Arthur D. Little, governments and regulatory bodies should undertake decisive National Fibre-optic strategies in their attempts to boost future economic growth.
The report titled, ‘National Fiber Strategies: National economic imperative or just another private industry task?’ identifies Saudi Arabia as among the least-developed GCC countries in terms of fibre-optic deployment.
Dr. Karim Taga; “Government should make fibre infrastructure a national priority. This means devising new ways of financing and promoting future deployment in order to catch up with neighboring countries in the GCC.” — Dr. Karim Taga, Managing Partner and Global Practice Leader, ADL TIME practice
The report highlights clear economic benefits of improving broadband infrastructure, stating that Broadband is the key lever for economic growth. It leads to socio-economic value creation that yields the following benefits:
- Creation of jobs that contribute to GDP growth
- Increased productivity that leads to increased GDP
- Critical diversification of economies, as Small and Medium Businesses are among the first to benefit from new services
- Increased opportunities for innovation leading to the development of new and improved computer programs
- Increased political transparency, leading to improved welfare
- Reduced business travel owing to improvements in communication
- Creation of a paperless environment
- A positive environmental impact
The report states that in the attempt to reap those benefits, a substantial investment is required. On the back of huge investments made by incumbent operators, some GCC countries are already ranked as global leaders in passing/connecting homes to their FTTH networks.
Although this has increased visibility for the region in global discussions on high-speed broadband infrastructure deployment, the Middle East still has significant challenges to overcome that require intensive government participation.
The report includes a global survey of National Fibre strategies in nearly 50 countries, which identified five models that governments around the globe have been following in the attempt to reap the benefits from fibre.
Each model is a combination of:
(i) regulatory intensity ranging from low (freedom) to high (mandatory open access and regulated pricing) and
(ii) degree of public investment ranging from zero to full public funding
Dr. Karim Taga; “Governments should ensure the right regulation and control so that funding can maximize the economic impact. Choosing a National Fibre strategy is about identifying the best model for specific national market conditions and applying that model well.”