The digital landscape has undergone a profound transformation in recent years, with the global broadband and cloud computing markets emerging as key pillars of the digital economy. Their combined worth exceeds an astounding $656 billion, but the real impact extends far beyond this impressive figure. Broadband and cloud computing are instrumental in shaping the future of our interconnected world, driving innovation, efficiency, and growth across industries and societies. In recognition of their pivotal role, the World Broadband Association (WBBA) has unveiled a groundbreaking benchmark, the Broadband and Cloud Development Index (BCDI), which evaluates the performance and impact of these two digital powerhouses in major countries worldwide.
The Engine of the Digital Economy
Broadband connectivity and advanced cloud computing have laid the foundation for a diverse array of advanced applications and services. From smart living to the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital transformation, the demand for next-generation broadband infrastructure and cloud services is continuously on the rise. Basic broadband access is no longer sufficient; countries that invest in advanced broadband and cloud infrastructure reap a multitude of benefits. This investment catalyses economic growth, fosters innovation, and enhances the quality of life for citizens.
The BCDI encompasses a comprehensive assessment of broadband and cloud markets across 21 countries spanning five continents, collectively representing over half of the world’s population and more than three-quarters of global GDP. Its purpose is to recognise best-in-class performance at the country level, spotlighting the most crucial factors in the continued growth of these sectors, The ultimate goal is to democratise broadband and cloud access, ensuring that these technologies deliver broader economic and social benefits to all.
Australia under forming in broadband and cloud computing.
Australia’s performance in this index has raised concerns about the country’s digital infrastructure. The country emerged as the only developed nation to fall below the median in both categories, ranking 14th out of 21 in cloud adoption and 15th in broadband.
In the cloud segment, Australia scored 25.2 out of 40 based on metrics such as cloud spend, data storage spend, datacentre loads, public cloud usage, growth rates, and market concentration. In broadband, Australia’s score was 29.8 out of 60, with metrics encompassing broadband penetration, FTTP provision, online video use, affordability, and market concentration.
Australia’s broadband access score was affected by its relatively low Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) coverage (26%) and penetration (17%). The low fibre penetration contributed to the country’s lower score in broadband usage and application, where less than a quarter of residential broadband connections offer speeds of 100Mbps or faster. Broadband affordability was another area of concern.
Identifying Global Leaders and Challenges
The BCDI doesn’t just assess performance; it ranks countries to highlight leaders and challenges within the broadband and cloud markets. These rankings are not intended to criticise countries but rather to serve as a roadmap for improvement. To provide a fair assessment, the BCDI organises countries into three clusters:
Cluster 1: Countries with above-average scores in both broadband and cloud markets. This elite group includes the United States, China, South Korea, Japan, France, Finland, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Cluster 2: Countries where either broadband or cloud market scores are above average, but the other market lags. Sweden, Singapore, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, and India are among this category.
Cluster 3: Countries where both broadband and cloud markets have scores that are average or below average. Australia, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, and Indonesia find themselves in this cluster.
The United States secures the top position in the BCDI, primarily due to its stellar performance in the cloud market. China follows closely as the only country to achieve a top ranking despite a lower GDP per capita. Germany, on the other hand, faces concerns with its broadband performance despite being the fourth-largest economy globally. Brazil’s case is intriguing, featuring high FTTH broadband penetration but ranking 17th in broadband due to other challenges.