Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have an important economic impact as shown in OECD analysis . This report goes further to consider the impact of broadband, a particular information and communication technology. Broadband networks increasingly link other ICTs in ways that should ultimately have a significant and positive effect on economic activity, with potential benefits for productivity, growth and the quality of life. Notwithstanding the rapid growth of broadband take-up, the phenomenon is relatively new and difficult to disentangle from the overall impact of ICTs which is already a challenging area for measurement. Nevertheless, firm evidence of a positive impact is increasing as studies from official statistical agencies or based on official statistics are developed in OECD countries.
The impacts of broadband are very wide and choices have to be made about which particular areas should be covered. This paper mainly considers the economic impact of broadband, and does not consider social impacts in detail. The report explores the ways in which broadband is becoming an integral part of OECD economies and some of the structural changes that result from this. The main focus is on the impact on businesses, via productivity, organisational innovations, increased competition and the opportunities for the globalisation of an increasing range of tasks, especially in services. All of these will impact on employment and labour market flexibility.