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Importance Of National Fiber Optic Backbones

Developed countries are increasingly dependent on widespread access to broadband services and applications, and everyone knows that the infrastructure on which these services depend is critical for citizens to participate in the information economy and take advantage of modern teaching and healthcare methods. In addition, when looking for investment opportunities, companies demand a developed broadband infrastructure. Given the critical role that information and communication technologies (ICTs) play in the global economy, broadband access use to be now appreciated as a public advantage just like railways and roads. 

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Many developing countries are now beginning to install technologies that will offer local broadband access. However, in order to promote greater broadband availability, it is absolutely essential to have a national fiber optic infrastructure and, furthermore, that it be affordable. Sharing infrastructure can be one of the strategies to achieve this goal more quickly than if the market is left to evolve in its own way. While international competition has often driven down broadband prices, in developing countries at most one or two providers set domestic broadband prices, which are therefore often too high . This problem could be solved with competition, but what kind of competition?

The promotion of competition has taken various forms depending on the markets. In the United States, for example, since cable television networks are very common and can be modernized very easily and cheaply to provide broadband services, there may be competition between various types of access networks. In Malaysia, access unifi package networks other than telephone are not very numerous and, therefore, competition between services has been promoted by requiring that established providers give other companies access to connections with users’ facilities (breakdown of the local loop), and transforming legacy copper networks into digital subscriber lines (DSL).

In developing countries, will the removal of regulatory constraints open the door to multiple backbone and backbone providers (including small or regional companies)? Or is this broadband market more likely to copy the Malaysian example and require the intervention of the regulator to guide its development? You will only know if you can choose between both options.

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Jasmine Sham