Fair Cost Recovery

I identifies and quantifies the internet traffic and associated costs which shortchange the building and running of broadband networks and suggests restorative policy solutions. Cost recovery is the process to recoup the expense of building and running a broadband network with an accurate assessment and attribution of its use. This information helps operators and policymakers understand the problem at local and global levels and compare the pros and cons of different policy solutions.

Effective broadband policy ensures that all people can access the internet and that networks evolve to serve a wide range of services. Most people in the developed world can access a basic set of internet services, but it is not optimal. The Covid pandemic increased the urgency for universal broadband as people had to learn, work, and receive healthcare from home. More largely, the internet increasingly drives the economy and productivity and is becoming the key medium for the delivery of government services. Ensuring essential social benefit services online may be frustrated by the proliferation of video streaming entertainment, the pricing and policy of which takes de facto precedence.

However important and significant the rollout and adoption of broadband may be globally, gaps remain. Shortfalls are pronounced in rural areas, financially vulnerable communities, and in many emerging countries. These shortfalls could be addressed with pricing innovation, which seems to be stifled by a lack of policy evolution. In many countries, broadband is still sold like it’s 1995.