Looking back on 2009, it is clear that telecommunications policy worldwide is in a potentially valuable and far-reaching period of change, as governments consider the most effective role they can play in spreading broadband technologies and connecting their citizens to the Internet.
Approaches to connectivity vary across developed and developing economies. Singapore has developed a plan for a heavily regulated next generation network that will be divided into at least four tiers. Australia is weighing the feasibility of a government-financed fiber-to-the-premises network, which aspires to connect 90 per cent of its homes and businesses, but would require an investment of US$34 billion. The United Kingdom’s ‘Digital Britain’ report, released in June 2009, seeks universal broadband access by 2012 and also recommends a tax on phone lines to pay for extending advanced networks to areas that are unlikely to receive commercial service. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission has embarked on an expansive process to develop a National Broadband Plan to be delivered to Congress in March 2010.
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