Another Study: OECD Prices of "Triple Play" Broadband Access

Here's another big topic:  Triple Play broadband services.  Those are data pipes which provide residential consumers with (A) Internet + (B) Landline + (C) Television (and movies).

This paper by Technology Policy Institute's Scott Wallsten and James L. Riso compares spending and price trends in OECD nations... where homes may be large enough and discretionary spending loose enough for people to own very large display devices, as well as hand held, laptop, and desktop in the same house... without having to prioritize.

It is a very different market from what I've described as "3B3K", the three billion people who live in countries earning average incomes of $3,000 per year.   Those nations are gaining internet access at 10x the rate of growth of OECD nations - but they are not getting triple-play access.  They choose whether to own hand-held OR big screen OR desktop, etc..  These consumers need technology which is "good enough" to accomplish what they need.  Many rely on internet cafes, or access at work.

Serving that developing market, the SKD factories (semi-knock-down, or cores re-manufacturers) often make devices like computer monitors which have a television tuner board installed, so the consumer, say in India or Pakistan or Venezuela or Egypt, can get both TV and computer in a single purchase.  This store in Egypt (photo) actually sold ordinary used computer monitors, hooked up to an external digital converter box (made in Taiwan by the same manufacturer of USA digital converter boxes), which provided a "cheap TV" in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Cairo... and of course also worked as a PC monitor.

What's fascinating is the speculation about cell phones, and whether the 3B3K market is going to give up on living room Triple Play, and go directly to wireless and handheld, as that market did with telephones (bypassing the landline).  Whether this is a "leapfrog" or a "compromise" is a subject of debate.

MIT's Legatum Center has done the most research on this, as far as I'm aware (link to paper by Niki Denison).   The February 2009 paper, 10 Ways Cell Phones Help People Living in Poverty, was examined in 

"Cell phones are becoming ubiquitous, even in underdeveloped countries. This unprecedented penetration by a communications technology is clearly changing the face of the developing world for the better -- in some cases, in ways that not even the most visionary leaders anticipated.. ."       Read more at

1 comment:

em said...

Looking at commercial history of communications in the '1st world"..
telegraph office.
then phone.
broadcast for 'consumers/public'.
mobile radio for service businesses, and ems.
wired cable tv
on demand cable tv. music channels. whatever tech 'serius' is/was.
now "bundling" of cable,net,phone is popular, but some people drop the landline phone part of the bundle.
cable sellers are pushing on-demand 'digital/hdtv'.

IMO, the worst aspect of ondemand digital is that since the costs of individualization are covered, it's super cheap for the insidious/ folks to datamine. And though i don't use ondemand, i wonder *when* the cable tv system will have cheap capacity to datamine even the "budget" cable tv accounts? (or already does and already is datamining?)
The worst aspect (which also originates in cultural history of commerce) is that violating privacy is considered the cultural norm. And unthinking lemmings cannot think their ways past this, thereby dragging everyone else through the mess.
And somewhat returning to your topic, this problem exists (differently) outside the "first world".