miércoles, 26 de septiembre de 2018

The public value of broadband deployments

The rationale behind the development of National Broadband Plans is its impact on well-being, social inclusiveness and economic growth. The current Plans in Europe were developed around 2011-2012 based on the conclusions of studies written around 2007-2009. The data taken into consideration for these studies belonged to the environment created around first broadband networks which speeds were below 30 Mbps. The most well-known piece of conclusion from these studies is that 10 per cent broadband penetration has an impact between 0.9 and 1.5 percentage points on GDP per capita.

More than five years after the begin of the above mentioned National Broadband Plans, there's a lack of evaluation of their results. The need for these assessment is double. On one hand, to proof that the return of the public investments. On the other hand, due to the evolution of connectivity technology used for broadband access in the last ten years, which demands an update of the data related to the benefits the infrastructure deployment. However, the lack of methodologies and standards for  the evaluation of results made this goal a challenge for public policy makers.

As usual, one the first serious trials for the evaluation of the economic impact and public value of a superfast broadband programme comes from a country used to evaluate the results of its public policies, the United Kingdom. The British Government published an exhaustive report on the impact on economy, well-being and enconomy of its public support to superfast broadband deployment between 2012 and 2016. The total cost of the programme has been around £ 800 millions. The evaluation has been done through the statistical comparison of geograhic areas where broadband deployment received support during the programme with white areas (without superfast broadband) of similar socio-economic conditions.

Without an study similar with the evaluation done in UK, the only result of a National Superfast Broadband Plan that could be shown by a government is the coverage. However, the extension of superfast broadband coverage is meaningless without the adoption. The report show that although the users could be suscribed previously to xDSL or other broadband technologies, the adoption rise quickly in the areas which received public support for superfast broadband deployment. Nearly 38 percent of the deployed infrastructure is used, helping to bridge the digital divide.

Regarding the economic benefits, the statiscal comparison between areas benefitting from subsidised coverage and white areas also show the positive impact of superfast broadband deployment. While subsidised areas saw employment rise by 0.8 percent and turnover grow by 1.2 percent, in the white areas of similar socio-economic conditions there are not a relevant variation in employment and turnover grow 0.4 percent. To sum up, the report calculate that the Superfast Broadband Plan has given UK businesses a £9 billion shot in the arm. 

The UK government study reports other benefits, as the influence of the existence of superfast broadband in firms relocation decisions or that the evidences suggest that upgrades to non-residential premises were the primary driver of reductions in unemployment. However, there is a need to go deeper in the analysys on social benefits. A recent study on the impact of the UK Superfast Broadband Plan published by the National Farmers' Union estimates that Children who are able to access the internet on a regular basis can expect a 25 per cent boost in their examination grades.

Although the study published by the UK government could be extended to more social and economic dimensions, it is an example of the work that must be done by other government  to asses and validate its superfast broadband strategies. 






miércoles, 12 de septiembre de 2018

"Los pacientes del doctor García" - Almudena Grandes

Los pacientes del doctor García (Episodios de una guerra interminable, #4)Los pacientes del doctor García by Almudena Grandes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Almudena Grandes continúa con esta novela su serie de historias enmarcadas en los años que van desde la guerra civil hasta el final de la dictadura fascista que la siguió. La autora, desde que inicio la serie, proclamó la inspiración en los galdosianos Episodios Nacionales en la ideación de estos "Episodios de una guerra interminable", y quizás en este cuarto volumen es, hasta ahora, dónde más claramente se nota esta inspiración. De hecho, "Trafalgar" , la novela con la que arrancan los Episodios Nacionales, juega un papel protagonista en "Los pacientes del Doctor Garcia".

La dignidad de la resistencia interior y exterior al franquismo tras la Guerra Civil es también de nuevo la protagonista, en este volumen de la serie, personificada en esta ocasión en el Doctor Garcia y su amigo Manuel Arroyo. Quizás más que nunca, también son protagonistas la amargura y la incredulidad que la tiranía fascista en España fuera consentida por la comunidad internacional. En paralelo, con más fuerza que en otros elementos de la serie, el contraste de la ruindad y depravación de la dictadura, que se muestra en su hospitalidad tras la II Guerra Mundial a los criminales de guerra que intervinieron en el Holocausto judío.

El cuarto episodio de la guerra interminable es un relato de espías, centrado en la existencia en la España franquista de redes de apoyo a la fuga hacia Argentina de criminales nazis. Los protagonistas, el Doctor Garcia y el diplomático Manuel Arroyo, tienen como misión infiltrarse y desarticular la red. La plausibilidad de la historia la proporciona un contexto de personajes reales y hechos verídicos que Almudena Grandes combina coon su habitual maestría.

La obra es, como los anteriores episodios de la serie, un ejercicio de memoria histórica. Se incluyen hechos verídicos olvidados y alejados durante años del foco de los historiadores. La desesperada y descabellada idea de la rebelión estudiantil de año 1946, coincidiendo con la suave condena de la ONU la régimen franquista, es el elemento más destacable de este tipo incluido dentro del relato. También existen menciones a otros hitos históricos, como hechos concretos de la rebeldía universitaria de los años sesenta.

A mi juicio, "Los pacientes del Doctor García" es la más conseguida hasta ahora de las novelas que componen la serie. Como indicaba antes, las aventuras de Guillermo Garcia y su amigo Manuel Arroyo es el relato con mas reminiscencias galdosianas. De igual modo, la novela es la de mayor riqueza de escenarios, que abarcan no sólo la España reprimida por el fascismo y próxima frontera pirenaica, una parte mayoritaria de la acción transcurre en la Europa y en la Argentina de la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Todo ello le permite a la autora poner en primer plano el hilo que une la dictadura franquista con la Alemania nazi y las sucesivas dictaduras argentinas.

Solo nos queda esperar a la nueva entrega de la serie.

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miércoles, 5 de septiembre de 2018

5G, the game changer

It`s a platitude repeated thousand times per second that 5G is something more than a new wireless technology, a standard that goes beyond that a mere heir of 4G. 5G is a game changer in the digital economy and the relationship between the different players of the ICT ecosystem. The first inklings of this fact are emerging. 

To begin with, we can expect a complete change in the manufacturers´ arena. Handsets will be one of the main lever for the adoption of 5G as it is not possible such an expensive technology (a whole new network) to be deployed without a mass market. The eyes were looking to Asia for the first announcement of a 5G phone, but, unexpectedly, Motorola has been the winner of the handsets race. Could this mean that the handset manufacturer who reigned during the 1G and 2G will recover its throne as the main seller of mobile phones?

But a possible disruption in the handset market could not be the only change ahead among manufacturers. Something may be changing also in the distribution of network equipment markets among regions and manufacturers. It is not a surprise that the approaching of the 5G commercial stage is revitalising Ericsson, the old lady among the networks manufacturers. What is more surprising is that this resurrection is not due to its traditional European market but due to the early 5G deployment in the USA. Could this mean that Ericsson would be definitely abandon the European market?

During 4G deployment we attended to the decline of Europe as the main driver of the adoption of the new mobile technologies. Therefore, it is not a surprise that the European countries are also lagging behind in the deployment of 5G. But the disruption on the driver seat of 5G adoption may be also on the making. According with some studies, China is outgunning US on 5G. China now has a total of 350,000 5G cell sites across the country, compared with just 30,000 in the US.

But 5G will be also the driving force behind more deep changes in the digital ecosystem. For instance, new relationships are been forging between telecom operators and OTTs to provide services based on 5G capabilities, as 5G TV. But that  will be the story of another post.



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