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Why bad internet undermines innovation in the U.S. — the view from Kazakhstan

Offered by way of Kazakhtelecom


I’ve lately returned from a trade shuttle to the U.S., the place I needed to shuttle about three,000 miles across the nation. I used to be stunned at how badly the cell and stressed Web works in some of the international’s maximum advanced international locations.

Once I left New York for simply a few hours, the AT&T sign degree was once down by way of one line, then by way of two traces, and within the small cities of the Tyoga Wooded area area there was once no connection in any respect. I may hardly ever start to practice my direction with no need the Google Navigator attached to the Web, and it took me about an hour to circle round on the lookout for a community.

Throughout this two-week shuttle, the LTE pace hardly ever exceeded the 10 Mb/s-measure and the high quality connection ended instantly outdoor the principle roads or giant towns. What’s extra, AT&T, along with Verizon, declare to give you the highest Web protection in the United States! My colleagues who had been the use of T-Cell and Dash products and services had been even much less lucky — for many of our shuttle that they had no connection in any respect.

The stressed Web additionally leaves so much to be desired. Simplest 25 p.c of American families have fiber-optic connectivity, and the above-mentioned 10 Mb/s is the prohibit of American web capacity.

The explanations for this are completely transparent: the massive expanse of the rustic, many spaces with a particularly low inhabitants density (the place mobile towers are economically irrational) and a few with a particularly top inhabitants density (the place the community is overloaded at all times), the difficult process for putting in new base stations, the protests of radiophobics, and so on.

How will we resolve such issues in Kazakhstan?

In Kazakhstan, the place I come from, such issues are very acquainted. The rustic is similar in dimension to Argentina and is 5 instances the scale of France. However best 18 million folks reside right here, and maximum of them in villages positioned hundreds of kilometers aside.

Actually, now we’re fixing the similar issues that North The usa is confronted with. A couple of years in the past, when the rustic digitalization started in Kazakhstan, it grew to become out that the rise of cell broadband get admission to penetration by way of 10 p.c may end up in a GDP expansion of zero.6-2.eight p.c.

In financial phrases this is the same as $500-2000 billion

Cell Web penetration expansion of simply 1 p.c results in about zero.2 p.c of GDP expansion. What’s using having Uber to be had within the nation if an individual has no Web connection to obtain cell packages? What’s Airbnb just right for if the room/assets proprietor can’t reply to the messages of attainable visitors and should cross to the neighboring the city with the intention to to find connectivity to the community?

Because of this digitalization in Kazakhstan started with development fiber-optic traces and launching 3G and 4G.

From four p.c Web penetration to 73 p.c in simply over a decade

Again in 2004, the Web penetration of Kazakhstan was once best four p.c; now 73 p.c of the inhabitants has get admission to to the community. Throughout this time, the rustic’s GDP (because of its purchasing energy parity) has greater than doubled, expanding from 190 billion to 410 billion. After all, this isn’t best as a result of the community, however it’s without a doubt a contributing issue.

Over the following two years we’re going to build up the FTTH protection to 78 p.c and release the primary 5G community within the hope that digitalization will build up the rustic’s GDP by way of five p.c by way of 2025.

Why are some areas wealthy and a few deficient?

There’s one similarity between Kazakhstan and the U.S. — the more serious the get admission to to the Web in a specific area, the fewer economically strong the area is. In america I’ve discovered myself in far off spaces time and again, the place folks reside in fields of their trailers.

This image jogged my memory of the location in Kazakhstan within the 1990s, when the GDP was once the bottom within the area, and the rustic was once all of a sudden rolling to default. Some far off areas of the rustic had been like those from Western films, and folks’s salaries had been simply a number of tens of greenbacks per thirty days.

3G, 4G, and optic release gave new existence to the left out areas. Villages with out certified lecturers gained get admission to to Coursera and EDX, and folks received the facility to seek the advice of docs remotely, in addition to take a look at the result of their assessments.

Additionally, proficient lecturers and marketers gained the chance to earn a living on-line.  The most productive egovernment within the area, higher than that of many Eu international locations, has additionally seemed.

Yet another necessary step to overcoming virtual inequality is the optimization of content material supply to far off areas. Systems similar to Google’s world cache, Fb Community Equipment, and Akamai AANP permit the webhosting of caching servers within the areas, in order that citizens can obtain content material a lot quicker than if they are attempting to obtain a Fb video from a California server. This reduces the overall price of the Web in keeping with particular person consumer and offers higher get admission to high quality.

To my thoughts, it’s bizarre when the arena’s best international locations spend billions of greenbacks on army methods, however on the identical time put out of your mind about fundamental infrastructure like a just right Web connection.

Within the 21st century, having a high quality Web connection is nearly as necessary as get admission to to roads, drugs, or schooling.


Nurlan Meirmanov is Executive Director at Kazakhtelecom, the biggest telecommunications corporate in Kazakhstan. “Kazakhtelecom” is a state-owned corporate with $1,2 bln web property worth, $640 mln earnings in 2017 and sustainable expansion of +64% of property worth in 2014-2018. It’s marketplace percentage within the nation’s telecom is 40 p.c, cell – 25%, TV – 45%. It has nine.5M subscribers.


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