Don et al: Given the low cost and availability of new wireless access
devices, plus the steady expansion (and underutilization) of the
national backbone (often fiber) in many developing nations, is the real
cost of extending voice and data telecom service to rural villages any
higher for broadband than for narrow band? If as I suspect the cost
differential is not all that much, wouldn't then broadband imply a
higher return on investment. [I am assuming, of course an ideal
regulatory environment described earlier ("market liberalization, open
investment climate, good regulation (that supports universal access)."]

Ed Malloy

Don Richardson wrote:

> Voice connections are still absent in far too many parts of rural Africa
> - and other LDCs. Fola Odufuwa's email hits the nail on the head -
> market liberalization, open investment climate, good regulation (that
> supports universal access).
> On a related note, while GSM may not currently be as Internet compatible
> as we might wish, the very existence of TOWERS and backhaul from towers
> provides the opportunity to use GSM towers for Wi-Fi and other non-voice
> applications, provided the local market has a willingness and ability to
> pay for such services. Incentives or mandates for tower sharing may also
> be a vehicle to increase competitive telecom service in underserved
> markets.

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