One of the effects that I expect from happening in 2012 is the increase of the digital divide between high-data rate connected places and those with very poor connectivity.
As I explained in my latest post, we are starting to have ultra fast infrastructures in Spain. As an example, now I have at home 50Mbps down and 5Mbps up, which is much more than what I had at the beginning of 2011 with a poor 10Mbps ADSL service that offered barery 800kbps of upstream data rate.
The fact is that in big cities like Madrid and Barcelona we are starting to have a nice broadband offer. However, in smaller cities and towns this is not happening and will not happen during this year.
Therefore, there is a real risk of creating a very deep digital divide between areas where ultra high speed broadband is present and those which just DSL services are available.
This digital divide affects:
- productivity: many companies are not located in the big cities and there are not many industrial parks with a competitive fiber offer. Also, teleworkers and early adopters that do not live in the cities can not effectively work from home.
- territory cohesion: big differences across the territory generate disputes and are not good to overcome the economic crisis
- lack of innovation: connectivity and fiber networks gain momentum if are massively present, so people can really enjoy of high data rates when they communicate to others with similar connectivity services. If just one end enjoys high data rates, innovation and new application can not be deployed effectively…
However, bad news come when man analyzes whether private investment of the big operators can be complemented by the public sector. I can not see this happening, because most of the public governments are finding ways to reduce they expenses and investing on new telecom infrastructures is not a priority for them…
Now we have a new government and their firsts actions they have taken to reduce their budget has been to reduce R+D programs so the next post will be about the contradiction of trying to change our economic model and at the same time do not supporting research and innovation activities…