|Areas:||米国 韓国 オーストラリア シンガポール 日本 ニュージーランド カナダ EU 香港|
National Broadband Plans (NBP) with goals set for the 2010s and 2020s have appeared in advanced industrial countries in recent years. These plans are designed to ensure access for all to broadband services at affordable rates, and with the ultimate aim of universalizing broadband networks across the nation. The regulatory frameworks of current universal service systems were established in order to maintain PSTN, namely Public Switched Telephone Networks, which had been constructed by the incumbent carriers in the monopoly era, and in general is almost the only technology available for provision of voice services that cover an entire nation. Universal service policies in developed countries are generally intended to support service operation after infrastructure deployment in order to preserve universal service, and have clearly been separated from the 'digital divide' policies aiming to eliminate inter-regional disparities by promoting broadband infrastructure deployment. As is the case with the United States and New Zealand, some countries have also begun to take advantage of the universal service program as a tool for promoting broadband infrastructure deployment.
With this background in mind, it should be well noted that while most countries are in the process of rolling out broadband networks, Japan is the global leader for transmission speeds, quality and geographic coverage of ultra high-speed broadband, with a fiber optical network that already exceeds 90% penetration throughout the country. Thus, it should be understood that the vast majority of countries are in a very different situation to that of Japan with regards to the level of deployment of nation-wide broadband services. Japan's universal service system has ensured transparency and reliability, and minimized the burden on national users by modifying its rules based on the progress of broadband penetration. In keeping with this tradition, when considering a next generation of universal service system, it would be desirable to create a sustainable system that emphasizes cost minimization.