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Digital Connectivity in Lao PDR : Lagging Behind Peers - A Short Assessment with Policy Recommendations to Catch Up (English)

Digital connectivity - access to affordable and reliable internet services—has become a key driver of economic and social development globally. Economic activities and government services are increasingly moving online. Lao PDR is well-positioned to take advantage of these trends to improve growth, competitiveness and services provision to the population, but urgent interventions are needed to ensure that Lao PDR does not fall further behind regional peers. This note reviews the status of digital connectivity in Lao PDR and options for improvement, including the respective roles of government and industry. The main findings are as follows: By almost every measure, Lao PDR is lagging significantly in terms of accessibility, quality and affordability of internet services compared to other comparable regional economies. Access to mobile broadband is increasing, but rural and more remote communities are still unserved or underserved. Actions to close this digital divide are needed urgently. Fixed broadband—required for high-capacity data transmission to support the next wave of digital development—is particularly limited. Prices for internet are comparatively high. High capacity fixed broadband services are very limited and extremely expensive. The minimum retail tariff regime for mobile, voice and data services may reduce the ability of operators to differentiate services and compete on price and service quality. Quality of service and affordability of internet are continuing concerns which are slowing the introduction and use of digital services and applications. Regulatory capacity and expertise is increasing, but remains comparatively low which is further limiting market growth and investment.


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    Working Paper

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  • Country

    Lao People's Democratic Republic,

  • Region

    East Asia and Pacific,

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  • Doc Name

    Digital Connectivity in Lao PDR : Lagging Behind Peers - A Short Assessment with Policy Recommendations to Catch Up

  • Keywords

    price and quality of service; monitoring and evaluation approach; efficient use of resource; access to the internet; Broadband; digital connectivity; infrastructure sharing; broadband service; benefit of service; access to mobile; internet service provider; competitive market structure; rights of way; cost of service; allocation of responsibility; public sector financing; competition among operator; investment by industry; mobile network; digital service; digital development; regulatory capacity; consumer protection; government service; investment incentive; investment climate; enabling environment; data service; video streaming; digital infrastructure; retail tariff; backbone network; regulatory environment; rural area; tariff regime; technological innovation; subsidiary right; regulatory measure; broadband deployment; remote area; local content; competition policy; dark fiber; broadband network; broadband infrastructure; benchmarking data; radio equipment; fiber optic; optical fiber; civil works; urgent attention; local operator; regulatory instrument; international operator; content filter; internet governance; international benchmarking; survey results; minimum price; commercially viable; private-public partnership; large population; digital dividend; public-private partnership; specific performance; market base; infrastructure needs; service charges; data traffic; access network; Broadband Access; internet connection; remote community; personal data; access indicators; international standard; electronic signature; data transmission; market growth; heavy reliance; heavy load; digital economy; broadband internet; regulatory authority; Technology Transfer; online service; technology absorption; electronic commerce; selection criterion; regional economy; electronic transaction; lao kip; premium price; fixed service; mobile device



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Digital Connectivity in Lao PDR : Lagging Behind Peers - A Short Assessment with Policy Recommendations to Catch Up (English). Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.