Universal Access or Universal Service?
The Governments of LAC Region have recently announced the design and implementation of national broadband plans as part of their digital strategies. The main reason of these broadband plans grounds on the multiplier effect that broadband services and infrastructure deployment might have on economic growth, productivity and social inclusion.
According to a report by the European Commission, ICT explains 50% of annual increases in productivity in the EU, reaching a 75% in the case of U.S. Moreover, the ICT sector has become a catalyzer for making the countries their economic situation. In fact, each euro invested in ICT public investment generates 7 induced euros invested by the private sector.
This is probably one of the reasons why the Heads of State from several countries have decided to include within the universal service obligations, the provision of broadband services.
But what really is this concept of universal service? Is this concept of application to Latin America? What are the regulatory and business implications of introducing specific regulation on this matter?