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The World is in Need of Transformative Solutions

The world has changed significantly since 2000, when the countries of the world adopted the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While strong economic growth in the developing world has helped lift millions out of poverty, global population growth, modern lifestyles and consumption are now stretching the limits of the planet’s resources. During this time, technological advances in information and communication technologies (ICT) have radically transformed the way people communicate and lead their lives; now ICT can play a vital, transformative role in helping to put the world on a more sustainable path.

Recent crises in the financial, global food and energy sectors have highlighted fragility in global systems, as well as weaknesses in governance and persistent inequalities among vulnerable or disadvantaged populations. In addition, constraints to development have become apparent, such as climate change, increasing environmental degradation and population growth. Together with complex societal issues like rising inequality, ageing, infrastructure, gender equality, childhood development and education, as well as a lack of decent jobs for youth, these challenges pointed to an urgent need for an integrated, single sustainable Post-2015 development agenda.

In September last year, the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of this new sustainable development agenda, refocussing on efforts to much better reach vulnerable or marginalised groups and tackling the interrelated root causes of poverty, inequality and environmental degradation. It must shift technology and behaviour towards sustainable consumption and production patterns to decouple continued growth and improved living standards from the unsustainable use of resources. Business-as-usual is simply not an option.

Innovative, scalable multi-stakeholder solutions are needed to deliver inclusive economic growth and a shift to sustainable patterns of consumption and production. The world needs to adopt a more integrated and comprehensive approach to development—and in this, ICT and broadband can make a major contribution.

Research conducted by the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development shows that while national broadband plans increasingly recognise broadband’s role in socio-economic development, much more needs to be done to support this ‘invisible technology’ transforming our world. A regulatory environment that encourages widely accessible and affordable broadband deployment is the only way to realise its potential to advance sustainable development—for example through proactive policy on radio spectrum for mobile communication services.

National broadband plans increasingly do link broadband and ICT explicitly with the achievement of societal goals: 86% of these plans refer to its role in improving access to education and educational outcomes; 82% address how ICT can improve governance, although emphasis is mainly on accessibility to services and three-quarters of plans analysed refer to health. In contrast, however, child and maternal health were barely mentioned, indicating a need to raise awareness of the considerable potential for broadband and ICT to enhance such healthcare systems, strengthen primary health systems and build foundations for addressing non-communicable diseases, including mental health. Only 31% of plans refer to poverty reduction and food security, with fewer than 20% linking broadband and ICT with agriculture, and only 6% considering the use of these technologies ICT to monitor food safety.

These are not simply linear developments; it requires governments and communities to rethink policies and strategies. Collaboration need to replace the traditional silo-structured nature of organisations. Horizontal systems based on interconnection and sharing will need to replace them. While governments (on all levels) need to show vision and leadership, private enterprise should be the ones to develop investment and business models, of course in close cooperation with ‘smart’ governments. The trend in 2016 is clearly that far more emphasis should be given on grassroots developments from communities and cities, people are increasingly empowered with access to mobile phones, tablets, computers, the internet, apps and so on; they demand smart communities and smart cities and are more than ready to assist their governments in getting there.

By Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication

Paul is also a contributor of the Paul Budde Communication blog located here.

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Good grief. Kevin Murphy  –  Feb 21, 2016 11:46 PM

Good lord, I think this might be the most meaningless thing I ever read on CircleID.

Fire your ghost writer, Budde, s/he is not doing you any favors.

Auch Paul Budde  –  Feb 22, 2016 1:26 AM

That is harsh :( Kevin, Tell me what the [problem is that you have with this blog so I can address the issue. Paul

Absolutely agree Michael J. Oghia  –  Feb 22, 2016 8:55 AM

I disagree with Kevin, I really appreciated this Paul. Thank you! Are you on Twitter? I'd love to follow you.

It's possible that I'm simply not smart Kevin Murphy  –  Feb 22, 2016 10:47 AM

It's possible that I'm simply not smart enough to understand what you're talking about, I suppose. Or perhaps I lack context. You seem to be saying that ICT is good, and that it can help with stuff, but beyond that I'm stumped.

ICT Paul Budde  –  Feb 22, 2016 12:06 PM

Hi Kevin, Correct what I am saying is that progress is made in developing countries and that ICT can further assist in that process. Mobile phones are empowering people and provide access to eg healthcare, education, potential jobs, etc. Through ICT we can also look at different ways to address some of the third world problems and in that respect I refer to transformation, not all that different from similar developments in developed economies. Paul

Okay. But is there anyone anywhere in Kevin Murphy  –  Feb 26, 2016 11:18 PM

Okay. But is there anyone anywhere in the world, developing or otherwise, saying ICT is bad? This post reads to me like somebody advocating for the continued availability of oxygen.

oxugen Paul Budde  –  Feb 27, 2016 1:01 AM

Good analogy Kevin Yes most will agree,ICT is good and yes I agree it a utility similar to water, electricity, etc. That being the case we need to treat it as such and not as a luxury. We need policies/regulations that will see basic ICT services (such as eg access to broadband) as a utility, anything on top of that can be delivered by the free market. If you leave the utility in the hands of a private monopoly/duopoly/etc many people will miss out on that oxygen.

Thanks :) Paul Budde  –  Feb 22, 2016 9:00 AM

I am feeling better now Michael :)

Yes you can follow me on Twitter @paulbudde

Of course still happy to address Kevin’s issue if I know what it is.


Interconnection and settlements Michael Elling  –  Feb 23, 2016 10:01 PM


Only need two things:
1) mandated interconnection as far out to the edge, along with
2) inter-network settlements fostered and monitored (not set) by the regulator.

These are easily administered and will be a huge boon for all involved.

We need a discussion and analysis of the role of settlements acting as price signals for incentives and disincentives, while also conveying value equitably from the top and core of the interwebs (where they naturally gravitate).  Our ICT/TMT markets are a set of disconnected, siloed actors with no price signals between them.  Therefore end-point upgrades are not coordinated, pricing is based on average costs ex post and not marginal costs ex ante, and the digital divide continues to grow as technological change outpaces industry innovation.

market reform Paul Budde  –  Feb 23, 2016 11:20 PM

You are right Michael. However, the vested interest will all lobby hard against anything like that, as they have very successfully done for decades. Without a decisive FCC/Government there will not be such a mandate, which would force the silo players to start working on a more holistic reform program.


Better analysis and framework Michael Elling  –  Feb 24, 2016 1:59 PM


Before that can occur, we need better analysis and a framework; one which uses consistent terminology and illustrates cause and effect.  Too much of the analysis is done in isolation.  But Wheeler understands this.  Just look at his actions last week hitting the LinearTV model with a 1-2 (edge and core) punch.  Few understand this because they don’t have an analytical engine.

But little academic work has been done on the role of settlements, other than they have been distorted for political and corporate purposes and rarely been given the opportunity to work in an open, competitive market setting.  We need to assemble a group of academics and researchers who would be committed to establishing a body of work to take to the FCC and give Wheeler ammunition.


Tom Paul Budde  –  Feb 24, 2016 11:24 PM

I know Tom personally Michael and I am a great admirer. He is the first chairman in a long time who is standing up against the ongoing lobby of the vested interests. He is certainly making progress, I agree with you, but never ever underestimate the enormous power that the vested interest are wielding in American politics. To be honest I think we have plenty of academic and other research material (I have been involved in this myself and even presented at the White House back in 2009). What we need is the political will to change. If that is on place the rest will follow.

Flawed analysis and policy Michael Elling  –  Feb 25, 2016 5:06 PM


I was in an extremely small minority pointing to the flaws in TA96.  Not only did misunderstanding exacerbate the telecom and internet bust in 2000, but continued through much of the 2000s.  I was, if you will, the anti-Jack Grubman of the 1990s and told Bernie Ebbers that he was building a ponzi scheme already back in 1993.

The only saving grace over the past 20 15 years was Steve Jobs resurrecting equal access through a policy loophole developed in the 1930s.  Of course a lot of forces continued to scale over the past 15 years due to often unintended open access policies in the 1970s-90s across a variety of disparate networks.

But please send me some of the better research that supports equal access AND internetwork settlements.  The latter would be particularly interesting (and rare) as much of the academic work over the past 30 years has been about dismantling the inefficient subsidies and intercarrier settlements that developed in the monopoly PSTN.  michael at ivpcapital dot com


reply Paul Budde  –  Feb 26, 2016 11:07 PM

Michael perhaps better to take this off line. If that is ok pls let me know [email protected]

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