20th ITS Biennial Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 30 Nov. - 03 Dec. 2014: The Net and the Internet - Emerging Markets and Policies
This paper analyzes if and how the design of telecommunications regulatory institutions has influenced the evolution of Internet connectivity in approximately 100 countries between 2007 and 2014. While most advanced and developing countries have adopted policies and regulations intended to enhance private sector incentives for the provision of Internet access infrastructure, there is little consensus about the optimal design of telecommunications policies and regulations, how they should reflect differences in endowments and institutional settings across countries, or their impact on network infrastructure development. Using measurements of network connectivity speeds and cross-country institutional differences this article presents and analyzes patterns of regulatory design and their possible impact on the evolution of Internet access infrastructure capacity around the world. We find that sector specific indicators of formal rules and institutional arrangements do not vary significantly with income or indicators of the evolution of connectivity. General and sector specific indicators of perceived institutional quality are positively associated with cross-country differences in Internet connectivity speeds, but do not help explain differences in their growth rates. We further explore the implications of the apparent dichotomy between formal and perceived institutional quality for public policy and private sector participation in the development of Internet access infrastructure.
Internet infrastructure institutions regulation development digital divide