- Published: 12 February 2017 12 February 2017
Strongman rulers delivering better results. We like to think democracy and openness are the keys to expanding broadband, and some very prominent ideologues have been making that claim. The data show otherwise. Egypt, the current growth leader, is a vicious military dictatorship. Vietnam remains a single-party socialist republic. The Chinese government has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty, one of history's greatest achievements. The horrors of 1958-1975 are now in the past, but it remains an authoritarian state.
Thailand, #4 among nations with 1M or more connections, remains under a military government. #5 Belarus makes the Soviet Union look like a model Democracy. Among smaller countries, the leaders are Sri Lanka, Kosovo, and Syria. The growth rates for Q3 2016 of these countries ranged from 3% to 8%.
Much as we'd like to believe it, the evidence is clear broadband growth does not require openness, freedom of speech, public private partnerships, light touch regulation, or the other recommendations of the Washington Consensus. Nor is "multi-stakeholder" control required. These may be good things - I support most of them - but making stupid claims in public is not the way to achieve them.