Don’t look at Kenya, look at Sweden.


A recent article from Bloomberg on the NBN, in which I was also quoted, mentioned that Kenya had faster broadband than Australia. While that was true for a tiny part of that country, most people in Kenya don’t have speeds that high. The Australian Prime Minister jumped on that and ridiculed the Bloomberg comparison.

Funnily enough, neither the Prime Minister nor anybody else in government or in nbn co will use examples that show that Australia still has a challenge ahead of it. They should use examples from countries that do better than us in the delivery of broadband, and so challenge and stimulate Australia to do better. This applies to any sector, not just telecoms.

Over the years I have suggested that it would be much better to use such examples as case studies on how and where we can improve.

A recent report from telecoms analyst Henry Lancaster from my previous company BuddeComm, in relation to broadband policies in Sweden is a case in point

The Swedish government earlier this year revised its broadband strategy, itself a follow-on from two previous strategies (the last focused up to 2020). This one has ambitions to 2025, and is partly the result of wanting to align itself with the EU’s Digital Agenda as updated in September 2016.

Essentially the Swedes will have:

  • 95% of premises covered with a 100Mb/s service by 2020;
  • National coverage of high-end LTE and 5G mobile by 2023;
  • National coverage of a newly defined ‘high-speed’ fixed broadband 1Gb/s service by 2025. Of the remainder, 1.9% will get 100Mb/s and a token fraction (0.1%) in remote areas will get 30Mb/s.

The country has always been focused on good access: as early as 2009 it was looking at 90% coverage with a 100Mb/s service by 2020. The government is keeping up with technology and knows that it is viable to press for near-universal 1Gb/s. The methodology to achieve this makes for an interesting read.

Prime Minister Turnbull, this is a good example which you could use to show what Australia should be aiming to achieve: providing a first-class digital economy outcome for the country that will allow us to be up there with our trading partners around the globe.

Paul Budde


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