What does broadband in Sweden, Canada, the US, and South Africa have in common? That’s exactly what we wanted to find out. We connected with colleagues from Isiwze, Distributel, and COS Systems to share best practices and lessons learned to help broadband leaders avoid reinventing the wheel and build upon good ideas happening globally.

Full capabilities and applications of the internet are still being explored and as services evolve, new challenges and requirements for managing bandwidth arise. No matter where you are in the world, bandwidth management is an essential component to internet service delivery. Both traffic shaping and prioritization are necessary to ensure that certain applications receive the bandwidth they require. However, with the growth of full fiber networks and the availability of abundant bandwidth, the need for traffic shaping may not be as pressing.

New approaches to taking services to market can be an exciting time of development for both consumers and businesses. This highlights the need for flexible and adaptable models that can keep up with the changing demands of internet users.

There are plenty of nuances between how economic, social, and regulatory environments impact how broadband providers, communities, and governments operate. For example, Sweden has an extremely mature fiber market with approximately 98% fiber coverage. The question still remains how they will connect the remaining few.

Historically, Sweden’s model started due to a monopoly which forced every community to work with one organization. Eventually this became too expensive and communities started to build their own networks which became an increasingly inefficient model.

The telecom sector was then privatized which led community operators to realize that building infrastructure and offering broadband services were two completely different skillsets. This led to the separation of the two functions, which spurred an open access network or a wholesale model where other providers are invited to leverage. Consolidation then happened and large nationwide operators came in to operate the network with an open access model.

Today in Sweden, there’s a price cap for fiber internet which has helped to drive the adoption of new technologies for residents and has created healthy competition among providers. The key takeaway? Governments and businesses can benefit from looking beyond short-term gains and start thinking about long-term solutions. Instead of focusing only on the upfront cost of implementing new technologies, considering the long-term benefits of driving adoption will ultimately lead to both increased revenue and growth.

Meanwhile, in the US and Canada, the trend towards the wholesale model approach with investor-driven operations is finally starting to take off. While Sweden may be years ahead of the rest of the world, other countries can take note of their journey as broadband continues to develop globally.

Although broadband may appear to be the same regardless of country or region, our conversation highlighted the fact that a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective and each country’s unique situation needs to be fully understood to create an effective business model. We may share the common goal of connecting people globally, but the approach and strategy undertaken must be adopted and molded to fit the unique needs of each country. 

To learn more about broadband development around the world watch the full discussion and subscribe for the latest Beer & Broadband episodes!