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

Offered through Kazakhtelecom


I’ve just lately returned from a trade shuttle to the U.S., the place I needed to commute about three,000 miles across the nation. I used to be surprised at how badly the cell and stressed out Web works in one of the vital international’s maximum evolved nations.

Once I left New York for simply a few hours, the AT&T sign degree used to be down through one line, then through two traces, and within the small cities of the Tyoga Woodland area there used to be no connection in any respect. I may hardly ever start to observe my course with no need the Google Navigator attached to the Web, and it took me about an hour to circle round searching for a community.

All over this two-week shuttle, the LTE pace hardly ever exceeded the 10 Mb/s-measure and the high quality connection ended straight away out of doors the principle roads or large towns. What’s extra, AT&T, at the side of Verizon, declare to give you the highest Web protection in the United States! My colleagues who had been the usage of T-Cell and Dash products and services had been even much less lucky — for many of our shuttle they’d no connection in any respect.

The stressed out 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 utterly 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 always), the sophisticated process for putting in new base stations, the protests of radiophobics, and many others.

How can we remedy such issues in Kazakhstan?

In Kazakhstan, the place I come from, such issues are very acquainted. The rustic is similar in measurement to Argentina and is 5 occasions the dimensions of France. However handiest 18 million other folks are living right here, and maximum of them in villages located hundreds of kilometers aside.

In truth, 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 became out that the rise of cell broadband get admission to penetration through 10 p.c can result in a GDP enlargement of zero.6-2.eight p.c.

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

Cell Web penetration enlargement of simply 1 p.c results in about zero.2 p.c of GDP enlargement. What’s the usage of 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 possible visitors and should cross to the neighboring the city with a view to in finding connectivity to the community?

This is the reason 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 used to be handiest four p.c; now 73 p.c of the inhabitants has get admission to to the community. All over this time, the rustic’s GDP (because of its purchasing energy parity) has greater than doubled, expanding from 190 billion to 410 billion. In fact, this isn’t handiest on account of the community, however it’s undoubtedly 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 through five p.c through 2025.

Why are some areas wealthy and a few deficient?

There may be one similarity between Kazakhstan and the U.S. — the more severe the get admission to to the Web in a selected area, the fewer economically solid the area is. In the USA I’ve discovered myself in far flung spaces time and again, the place other folks are living in fields of their trailers.

This image jogged my memory of the location in Kazakhstan within the 1990s, when the GDP used to be the bottom within the area, and the rustic used to be unexpectedly rolling to default. Some far flung areas of the rustic had been like those from Western motion pictures, and other folks’s salaries had been simply a number of tens of bucks per thirty days.

3G, 4G, and optic release gave new existence to the ignored areas. Villages with out certified academics gained get admission to to Coursera and EDX, and other folks received the power to seek the advice of docs remotely, in addition to test the result of their assessments.

Additionally, gifted academics and marketers gained the chance to make cash on-line.  The most efficient egovernment within the area, higher than that of many Eu nations, has additionally seemed.

Another essential step to overcoming virtual inequality is the optimization of content material supply to far flung areas. Systems akin to Google’s international cache, Fb Community Equipment, and Akamai AANP permit the internet hosting of caching servers within the areas, in order that citizens can obtain content material a lot sooner than if they are trying to obtain a Fb video from a California server. This reduces the general value of the Web in step with person consumer and provides higher get admission to high quality.

To my thoughts, it’s ordinary when the sector’s best nations spend billions of bucks on army methods, however on the similar time omit about fundamental infrastructure like a just right Web connection.

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


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 price, $640 mln income in 2017 and sustainable enlargement of +64% of property price 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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