Notwithstanding the progress in recent years, Latin America and the Caribbean still fall far below the standards of developed countries in terms of broadband penetration.
The index, called BPI established 37 indicators to measure performance in this area, which is based on four pillars: public policy and strategic vision, strategic regulation, infrastructure and applications and training. Each has a score of 1 (less developed) to 8 (more development) to produce the overall index.
On average, countries in the region reached a score of 4.37. In contrast, the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), for example, have a BPI of 6.14.
Chile is the country with the highest broadband deployment in Latin America a combined ratio of 5.57, followed by Barbados with 5.47, Brazil is third with 5.32, fourth Panama with 5.05 and Uruguay is fifth with 4.81, according to a new index released Wednesday by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Regarded by regions, the BPI reveals that the Southern Cone has the highest broadband penetration, with a score of 4.87, while the Caribbean is the most backward, with an index of 3.72 region.
“In a modern society, broadband is the key ingredient of the public policy agenda to accelerate economic growth and reduce inequality,” said Antonio Garcia Zaballos who heads the broadband initiative at the IDB.
According to IDB, a recent study by the agency found that only a 10 percent increase in the penetration of broadband services in the region could raise the GDP by 3.2 percent (average) and increase productivity by 2.6 percentage points.
Currently, says the Bank, the biggest bottleneck for the expansion of broadband is its high cost to users. The average price of broadband is nearly 8 times higher than the OECD countries. This is compounded by the institution-scores-the lack of coordination between the public and private sectors for the development of a digital agenda for the country.
Written by Sergio Gomez Maseri
Photo Credit: Flickr/Tomas Jorquera