By Gustavo Guerrero
While broadband internet has become an essential business tool, it has been slow to arrive in the areas that need the benefits of development the most – namely rural regions of developing countries. Though there has been some growth over the years, there is still a long way to go. Recognizing this, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) released a report showing the effect of broadband internet on the economies of Latin American and Caribbean countries, outlining how countries can improve their telecommunications infrastructure.
Nationwide high-speed internet access is something that many in the developed world take for granted. However, in the developing world there is a different story. In Nigeria, low broadband penetration has been cited as hindering the development of e-commerce in Africa’s largest economy. Similar examples are present all across the developing world. The potential for growth is there, waiting, but it cannot be realized until broadband penetration and speed are improved.
Having a web presence is now almost a prerequisite for becoming a successful business. The specific type of web presence can range from simply listing basic business contact information and operating hours, to having an online sales portal. Being online offers many benefits with very few, if any drawbacks. While most businesses in the developed world have adapted to this new environment, businesses in many parts of the world lack basic internet access that would allow them to grow and thrive.
The report, Socioeconomic Impact of Broadband in Latin American and Caribbean Countries, consists of two major components which aim to promote broadband internet connection in the region. The first is an econometric model for LAC countries which helps determine how increases to broadband penetration could affect their GDP. The second is a set of recommendations designed to help governments best improve their infrastructure.