Economics of Global Internet Deployment

11 November 2015 - A Workshop on Other in João Pessoa, Brazil


Maximizing Internet access has been widely accepted as a vital objective across the ideological spectrum. But how can universal deployment be funded and how can service be made affordable to all? This panel complements a related panel on zero-rating plans but offers a broader perspective on promoting infrastructure investment and will explore a range of questions, including: Where are markets failing to provide Internet access — and why? What can governments do to encourage investment? What barriers discourage investment in both wireless and wireline service, and in the backbones that connect both? Can new satellite-based services and mobile technologies change the equation? What role do “edge” providers of content and services play directly infrastructure investment? What indirect role do they play in driving Internet adoption, and thus helping Internet access providers achieve necessary economies of scale? Which aspects of Internet access might be natural monopolies? How much competition can we expect in others? What is the connection between network regulation and investment? What paradigms will best protect consumers while also driving investment in faster networks? How can regulators best ensure the affordability of broadband service? Do we need to replace traditional universal service paradigms of forcing service providers to cross-subsidize unprofitable consumers or areas? Might direct subsidies or other market-based incentives be more effective? How much of the adoption problem is actually related to price rather than digital literacy and perceived relevance?

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