ISOC Local Content Report

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The ISOC Local Content Report is a peer-reviewed study on the relationship between local content, internet development, and access prices, resulting from a 2011 collaboration between ISOC, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and UNESCO. Its initial findings were presented at the sixth annual IGF Conference, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on September 27-30, 2011.[1]

Primary Findings

The study's main finding is that there is a strong correlation between the development of network infrastructure and the growth of local content, even after controlling for economic and demographic factors.[1]

Measures of local content included:[1]

  • Numbers of visible TLDs in use per country code, per capita;
  • Wikipedia articles and blogs per language, per capita;
  • Measures of internet development, such as broadband penetration rates, autonomous systems per capita, international bandwidth per capita and routed IPv4 addresses per capita.

It also concluded that there is a significant relationship between the development of international bandwidth and the price of local internet access. Markets with more local internet markets tended to report lower international reports for bandwidth, while markets with more international Internet traffic reported lower local prices for internet access. This relationship is not visible in countries with much more developed internet infrastructures.


The causality between the aforementioned relationship between local content, infrastructure development and access prices is hard to determine due to data constraints and complex mutual interdependencies. Nonetheless, the study recommends key lines of policy considerations: fostering content development, expanding connectivity, and promoting Internet access competition.[1]

Fostering Content Development

The report noted two significant trends with regards to local content development: it is growing very quickly in volume, and its composition is changing so that it is no longer dominated by developed countries. The growth of local content development varies across countries, however, and is tied to factors such as each country's individual level of internet infrastructure development.[1]

Local content growth can be promoted through increasing the level of basic literacy (drafting, language, etc.), critical thinking ability, as well as media, information, and digital literacy skills. Supplying software and hardware will also aid internet growth at-large, as ICT equipment and services are considered luxury goods in many zones and therefore taxed heavily.

Governments, in general, should also collect and distribute information to communities, embrace the idea of openness with public sector data, and foster an innovative environment for content creation, perhaps by supporting educational institutions and areas with inexpensive connectivity.

Expanding Connectivity

Because mobile networks are the most prevalent internet platform in the world, policy makers could re-examine their existing locations and make mobile broadband usage more widely available. Prices for broadband are lower in countries with more international internet connectivity, as previously mentioned, and thus, governments should look at increasing their international capacities.

In tandem, developing local internet exchanges can promote local distribution of content in a cost-effective and self-organizing way.

Lastly, policymakers may need to evaluate the impact of network rollouts to areas with new telecommunications.

Promoting Competition

Improving competition can lower market prices, and lower prices are correlated with more developed internet infrastructures. Some key ways to increase the quality of services and lower prices include: liberalizing telecommunications markets; reducing barriers to entry, such as complex licensing requirements or foreign direct investment restrictions; promoting the rollout of multiple internet-capable mobile networks; creating mandated infrastructure sharing in a way that does not discourage network investments.[1]

It is a point of note in the study that some governments have used telecommunications monopolies and taxes on telecommunication markets as a source of government funding -- but that may actually reduce adoption, particularly if the collected revenues are not reinvested in network development.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 ISOC Local Content Report, Published 2011. Retrieved 2016 March 21.

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