Improved mobile and broadband access is one of the most fundamental enablers of private sector growth and job creation today, especially in emerging markets. It creates business opportunities and has a profound impact on the lives of those it reaches, quickly increasing the inclusion of people once cut off from economic growth.
Reforms in information and communications technology (ICT) have happened fast. New mobile technology has filled gaps in countries where there was no service at all. Elsewhere, people would have gone through a more traditional rollout of fixed network and then mobile. Today, we’re in the midst of the next wave of ICT expansion: broadband. The challenges are more complex for broadband that they were for mobile. Broadband requires significant capital investment, uncertain payback periods and collaboration between countries and often with other utilities.
Public-private partnerships (PPPs) are well placed to manage these sorts of complex interfaces and provide a framework for the apportioning of risk between the public and private sector. PPPs in ICT fall into two general categories, broadband and e-government, both of which will be explored within this section.