UN Broadband Commission sets 2025 targets to bring online the unconnected 50% of world population

The United Nations' Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has set targets to bring online the 3.8 billion people in the world who are not connected to the Internet.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) plays a key enabling role for the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), established by the United Nations and the international community in September 2015. Around 50 per cent of the world’s population remains unconnected and unable to benefit from the social and economic resources in the expanding digital world. In response to this, the targets were launched yesterday at a joint meeting of the Commission and the World Economic Forum, held during the 2018 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development aims that by 2025:

  • All countries should have a funded national broadband plan or strategy, or include broadband in their universal access and services definition
  • Entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries, at less than 2% of monthly gross national income per capita
  • Broadband / Internet user penetration should reach: 75% worldwide, 65% in developing countries, and 35% in least developed countries
  • 60% of youth and adults should have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in sustainable digital skills
  • 40% of the world's population should be using digital financial services
  • Unconnectedness of Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises should be reduced by 50%, by sector
  • Gender equality should be achieved across all targets [1]

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development includes top industry CEOs, senior policy-makers and government representatives, international agencies, academia and organizations concerned with development. It is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mexican industry leader, Carlos Slim Helú, of the Carlos Slim Foundation.

The Commission engages in high-level advocacy to promote broadband in developing countries and underserved communities. One of the central roles of the Commission is to promote the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda.

Commissioners work together to devise practical strategies – including private-public partnerships – that advocate for higher priority to be given to the development of broadband infrastructure and services, to ensure that the benefits of these technologies are realized in all countries, and accessible to all people.

[1] According to the 2017 global ICT facts and figures, the proportion of women using the Internet is 12% lower than the proportion of men using the Internet worldwide. While the gender gap has narrowed in most regions since 2013, it has widened in Africa, where the proportion of women using the Internet is 25% lower than the proportion of men using the Internet.

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