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Connections is a weekly series of knowledge notes from the World Bank Group’s Transport & Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Global Practice. It covers projects, experiences, and front-line developments.

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    Measuring Economy Wide Effects of Big Transport Projects: The Case of Georgia
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-05) Monsalve, Carolina
    Georgia is upgrading its principal highway, running for more than 350 kilometers between the Black Sea on its western border and Azerbaijan in the east, at a cost of about 2.3 billion US dollars, or nearly 14 percent of its 2014 Gross domestic product (GDP). Apart from the immediate effects of the construction (financed largely by international institutions), how much will this relatively large investment improve economic conditions in Georgia? Will it significantly reduce travel costs, and if so, how much of the gain will flow through to the whole economy? Answers to those types of questions are rarely quantified for infrastructure projects in developing countries, either because the projects are too small or the necessary country-specific model is lacking. The Georgia project offered a unique combination of circumstances that made the estimations feasible: (1) a large investment relative to the size of the economy; (2) an already existing model and dataset depicting how the sectors of Georgia’s economy interact; and (3) partial completion of the road upgrade that allowed a simulation of expected gains to be informed by actual interim outcomes.
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    Russia’s Ambitious Broadband Goal: Is the Progress Sustainable?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-03) Gelvanovska, Natalija ; Rossotto, Carlo Maria ; Gunzburger, Michael Lee
    In 2012, the Russian Federation announced one of the world’s more ambitious broadband Internet development goals: providing 80 percent of Russian households with ultrafast connection speeds - at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) by 2018.1 That goal exceeds the current targets in Germany and the European Union, and it is about equivalent to those currently being pursued by countries with ambitious strategic broadband connectivity goals, including Denmark, Sweden, and the United States. As part of the effort to reach its 2018 target, the Russian government recently tasked Rostelecom - a largely state-owned enterprise and the dominant firm in Russia’s broadband market - with the responsibility of connecting 4 million people (about 2.8 percent of all households) in small, widely scattered settlements throughout Russia by installing 200,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cable providing speeds of at least 10 Mbps. The assignment is both a great opportunity and a huge challenge for Rostelecom and for the entire Russian broadband sector. What can Russia do to ensure Rostelecom’s successful completion of its specific task as well as the success of the broader 2018 target?