The past twenty years have given us dramatic improvements in telecommunications access and services accompanied by relentless and rapid changes including particularly:
- the development of nearly ubiquitous (and usually competitive) mobile voice networks now accounting for nearly six billion lines, as opposed to 1.2 billion fixed lines;
- the emergence of broadband as a general purpose technology affecting all aspects of economic and social activity – whether related to consumption, production or the delivery of government services – which could very likely match the spread of voice services in the next 10-15 years. In almost every part of the world, wireless data traffic is expected to double each year for the next five years.
In emerging and developed economies, the key to continued development in telecommunications especially broadband over the foreseeable future will be access to spectrum, and a country's national broadband plan will depend crucially upon it. Abundant spectrum will be essential to promoting competition and innovation in telecommunications markets. In an opposite scenario, where spectrum access is inadequate the result will likely be higher prices for consumers, limited market entry, and constrained innovation. Successful national broadband plans will be almost inconceivable without strenuous efforts to add to available communications spectrum by all available means, including digital dividend, refarming and a willingness to be a ‘fast follower’ of new spectrum technologies associated with sharing frequencies.
As discussed further in Section 2.3: Spectrum Policies and Principles, it will be necessary to ensure that spectrum policies and principles connected with allocation and assignment procedures support both technical and economic efficiency while being properly balanced. Additionally, as discussed in Section 2.4.3: Planning for Future Use, the publication and adherence to a national spectrum use plan, the result of broad consultative process, and the incorporation of spectrum user views will help achieve efficient and effective uses for the spectrum resource. It is implicit that we know how spectrum is being used and by whom. Spectrum audits and spectrum supply and demand studies covering all spectrum users, especially government users, lead to steps which can result in new allocations and adjustments between users. These procedures are discussed in Section 2.4.2: Knowledge of Current Spectrum Use.
 Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2010–2015, available at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.html