NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Apr 29, 2014) - The World Economic Forum today released a new report that examines the long-term growth of the digital economy and the viability of the infrastructure that supports it.
The report, Delivering Digital Infrastructure: Advancing the Internet Economy, produced in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), focuses on current threats to digital infrastructure -- including fixed- and mobile-Internet infrastructure, telecommunications equipment and devices, and cloud infrastructure -- in the U.S., Europe, and emerging markets.
"The digital economy is growing significantly faster than the economy as a whole and is also having a far-reaching social and political impact," said David Dean, a BCG senior advisor and coauthor of the report. "However, the potential of the digital economy can only be realized if digital infrastructure keeps pace. This will depend on the investment, innovation, and cooperation of many stakeholders."
Delivering Digital Infrastructure is the result of a World Economic Forum cross-industry initiative. A steering committee and working group drawn from leading companies -- including AT&T, Baidu, Bharti Airtel, Huawei, Liberty Global, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Salesforce.com, and Telefonica -- contributed to the analysis of key industry challenges and helped propose recommendations.
The report provides recommendations for increasing investment in digital infrastructure in several regions. U.S. policymakers should encourage such innovations in local markets to heighten competition and investment -- and to help the U.S. remain a world leader in the digital market. In contrast, Europe's "digital health" is in particular need of attention. According to the report, the lack of a single digital market and greater infrastructure investment will make it difficult for the EU to capitalize fully on the benefits of the Internet economy.
Two critical technical issues are examined in the report: spectrum availability for mobile communications and disputes over IP-interconnection agreements that route traffic among the networks that make up the Internet. These agreements have come under increasing pressure as the volume of data traffic, especially video, grows significantly.
The report urges governments to make more spectrum available for mobile uses and all players to take steps to improve spectral efficiency. It also identifies areas of common ground among those on differing sides of the IP-interconnection debate and suggests a path toward resolving these disputes. In addition, the report assesses how policy and regulation can better keep up with the rapid digital advancement across multiple economic sectors.
"A key underlying premise of our work is that communication service providers and content providers face a mutually dependent future," said Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder and chairman of Bharti Enterprises. "Digital services depend on infrastructure for delivery, and infrastructure depends on digital services to drive demand for connectivity."
The report also discusses the need for national economies to develop efficient digital-services sectors and the role governments can play in helping to create environments that nurture such development.
"Governments especially need to recognize the economic and social benefits of digital connectivity and services," said Jon Fredrik Baksaas, president and chief executive officer of Telenor Group. "They can help to create environments in which dynamic digital economies can flourish by taking a long-term view and adopting a forward-looking approach to policy and regulation, ensuring incentives for investments."
A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.bcgperspectives.com.
To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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