Technology & Internet
ECLAC supports Broadband internet as a global public good
“ESTORIL, Portugal – The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, suggested on Monday that States should guarantee their population’s access to broadband Internet as a way to foment innovation in their economies.”
Comment: Developing countries will certainly be inceasing the gap in the “digital divide” where there is a lack of understanding and poor policy initiatives coming from agencies and Governments alike.
The nebulus concept of supporting broadband internet is one such initiative since it is difficult to equate that with anything other than “download”.
On the other hand, e commerce and e business policies and strategies can be demonstrated to provide revenue to Governments at all levels and fuel real economic development at the coal face.
It is in the face of such practical reasoning that some time ago, I advocated that policy makers should support a policy of ”connect all”. The Internet in my opinion is a pull-media. In other words, where you encourage access and build digital literacy, this provides a pull on different levels and sizes of service providers for services with an all round economic benefit.
Internet architecture is not like telecommunications, it is more expensive to provide broadband infrastructure than its old voice only systems. In this regard, the burden will fall on those who can afford to carry those who cannot. The resulting effect is stunted growth and stunted development with the real prospect of increasing the gap in the digital divide. In small states this would be tantamount to negative growth.
Jamaica’s proximity to Puerto Rico, a major Internet hub, suggests that there is no shortage of connectivity and broadband availability, with more planned to come on stream. Yet, for Jamaica to realise the power of the Internet at its economic grass roots, it still has to have the right policies and incentives to build digital literacy and so create businesses at all levels.
If there is an intention to provide e- government services, to promote e- commerce, e- payments, regional payment gateways, public key infrastructure to ensure security of transactions, etc etc. then you are most likely to want to achieve critical mass in connections and develop suitable technology for a “connect all” policy which will be aided and supported by suitable regulatory practices and policies.
ECLAC should be aware that it is not “broadband” which foments innovation; never has been and never will be.