With ambitious targets for both the speed and coverage of next-generation broadband networks, the developed countries of South-east Asia score highest in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s government broadband index (gBBi), the first-ever index to assess countries on the basis of government planning, as opposed to current broadband capability.

Greece is the worst-performing country measured by the index, owing to its relatively low coverage target and drawn-out deployment schedule. Greece also suffers due to the considerable size of its public-funding commitment as a percentage of overall government budget revenues, and because its plan does little to foment competition in the high-speed broadband market.

Australia, the country with the highest-profile and most controversial public-sector scheme, also falls in the bottom half of the index, mainly because it is spending a colossal 7.6% of annual government budget revenues on its National Broadband Network. In South Korea, by comparison, the government is spending less than 1% of annual budget revenues to realise its broadband goals, achieving targets by encouraging the private sector to invest in the country’s broadband future.

Besides the actual gBBi, Full speed ahead: The government broadband index Q1 2011 features up-to-date reviews of more than 40 national government plans for broadband development, with comparable metrics for more than 30 countries. Specifically, the report addresses the following questions:

• What targets are set for next-generation network (NGN) speed and coverage?
• By when do governments want to see basic broadband services universally available, and what does ‘basic’ mean in terms of speed?
• How do countries compare in terms of universal and NGN broadband targets?
• How much public funding has been pledged for the attainment of these targets and how do countries compare?
• How are governments acting to facilitate the plans through regulation and by intervening directly in market and network development?
• What role does the private sector play in government plans?
• What is the current status of the plans and of industry involvement in them?

The report contains more than 65 tables and charts, while the supporting Excel file includes more than 750 current data points, allowing easy cross-country comparisons on a wide range of metrics, including target speeds (for universal and superfast broadband services), target coverage levels and timeframes and public-funding commitments (total, per covered household and as a percentage of total fixed-line retail revenues and government budget revenues).

Full speed ahead: The government broadband index Q1 2011
is available at the EIU’s online store.

An abridged executive summary is available free of charge.

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