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Barbados leads Caribbean countries in broadband penetration

Barbados leads Caribbean countries in broadband penetration

Posted by Shanelle Weir on May 15, 2014

The Inter American Development Bank (IDB) released a new study Wednesday that Latin America and the Caribbean lag far behind developed countries in broadband penetration.

But the study shows that Barbados, Chile and Brazil are in the best position to take advantage of this vital development tool.

The bank said the 26 countries of the region included in the index posted a score of 4.37 on the  Broadband Development Index, while by comparison, the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rate an average of 6.14.

It said Chile leads the regional ranking with a combined score of 5.57, followed by Barbados at 5.47 and Brazil with 5.32.

The index brings together 37 indicators, each with a score ranging from one -- least development; to eight -- most development, to come up with the overall index. The indicators are chosen on the basis of four pillars: public policy and strategic vision, strategic regulation, infrastructure, and applications and knowledge.

“In a modern society, broadband is the key ingredient of the public policy agenda for speeding up economic growth and reducing inequality,” said Antonio García-Zaballos, who is leading the IDB's broadband initiative.

A recent IDB study found a 10 per cent increase in penetration of broadband services carries with it average rise of 3.2 per cent in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 2.6 percentage points in productivity.

The new ranking, which can be found on the IDB's new DigiLAC web site, provides data from all the countries of the region and more than 15,000 cities and towns. It was released as part of an IDB seminar on South Korea and the lessons that can be drawn from it for the development of Latin America and the Caribbean. South Korea has one of the world's highest degrees of broadband development.

The Southern Cone sub-region has the greatest broadband penetration with a score of 4.87. The Caribbean is the region lagging furthest behind, with an index of 3.72. However, Central America scored 4.26, slightly surpassing the Andean region at 4.13.

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