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World-class broadband

Ewan Sutherland (LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg-Braamfontein, South Africa)

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance

ISSN: 2398-5038

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




This paper aims to examine the aspiration to world-class broadband in a number of countries.


This study includes a review of the various approaches taken by countries, consultants and intergovernmental organisations.


The term “world class” is used relatively vaguely, without any significant link to long-term improvements in national performance, rather to an aspiration to being close to the leaders.

Research limitations/implications

The use of benchmarking in lobbying needs further study, as does the quality of lobbying.

Practical implications

Governments need to make explicit their policy aims in addition to any world-class headline and need to aim for design improvement in their governance systems.


This is the first review of benchmarking of broadband at the national level.



This work was partly inspired by the Scottish Government policy objective and by a submission to the Scottish Parliament. A presentation on this topic was made to the Newcastle Business School, for which opportunity the author would like to thank Jason Whalley.


Sutherland, E. (2017), "World-class broadband", Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, Vol. 19 No. 3, pp. 189-209.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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