UN outlines ambitious global broadband targets

Wednesday, October 26th 2011
Global internet user penetration must hit 60 per cent by 2015 under new plans from the UN.
UN outlines ambitious global broadband targets
The UN's International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has outlined a set of "ambitious but achievable" global broadband targets for governments to achieve by 2015.

Each of the four goals has been announced by the ITU's Broadband Commission for Digital Development (BCDD) in a bid to encourage countries to make sure citizens are not left behind in the move towards a digital society.

By the target year, the organisation wants all countries to have a national broadband plan or strategy in place, or include the technology in their definitions of universal access and service.

Market forces and adequate regulation should be used in developing states to drive down the price of entry-level broadband packages, meaning these deals should amount to no more than five per cent of consumers' average monthly income.

Worldwide internet user penetration should reach 60 per cent by 2015, the ITU declared, with 50 per cent of people in developing countries and 15 per cent in the least developed nations able to get online.

Home web access is also set to rise under the UN body's plans, which state that at least 40 per cent of households in developing countries should be connected.

Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the ITU and co-vice chair of the BCDD, said: "These targets are ambitious but achievable, given the political will and commitment on the part of governments, working in partnership with the private sector."

The commission endorses a 'broadband challenge' that reads: "It is essential to review legislative and regulatory frameworks, many of which are inherited from the last century, to ensure the free and unhindered flow of information in the new virtual, hyper-connected world."

In Europe, the EU has charged member states with achieving universal broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps by 2020, while half of the region's 220 million homes should be connected to 100Mbps download capabilities by this time.

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