Electronic Working Paper 24

The Next Generation Network: The consequences of technological and economic changes for media and communications policy in Brazil

Walter Tadahiro Shima                                                                                                        Federal University of Parana, Brazil

Abstract

This paper discusses the regulatory, economic and technical measures necessary to develop the Next Generation Network (NGN) in Brazil. After more than 15 years of privatization of telecommunications assets, initially expected to boost the Brazilian media and communications sector, very little has been changed. The regulatory framework has not managed to stimulate competition in landline services and access to broadband has not increased sufficiently. The copper line access to broadband is the infrastructure for the Current Information Society (CIS). The new challenge is building an institutional framework to enable the construction of the Next Generation Network (NGN) that will support the New Information Society (NIS). The NGN requires the construction of a fiber optic infrastructure and wireless ultra broadband network (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access -WIMAX) to provide an ultra fast internet which reaches to the ‘last mile’. While industrialized economies are discussing the institutional arrangements to achieve the NIS, Brazil is struggling to increase access to the internet in the mode of the CIS. However, since the NIS can be achieved through a proactive State that is capable of leading huge investment in this area, Brazil has the chance to leapfrog the CIS and catch up with the NIS rapidly through its current industrial policy. Obviously, success will depend on how the political arrangements are established.

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