The Broadband Commission for Digital Development has agreed on a set of four broadband targets that countries around the world should strive to meet in order to bridge the digital divide.
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), by providing universal broadband access, governments will be able to ensure that their citizens are able to fully participate in emerging knowledge societies.
The new targets, which cover aspects of broadband policy, affordability, and uptake, are as follows:
1.Making broadband policy universal - by 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access or Service Definitions.
2.Making broadband affordable - by 2015, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (for example, amount to less than five per cent of average monthly income).
3.Connecting homes to broadband - by 2015, forty per cent of households in developing countries should have Internet access.
4.Getting people online - by 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60 per cent worldwide, 50 per cent in developing countries and 15 per cent in least developed countries.
According to Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of ITU, though the above-mentioned targets are ambitious, he explained that they are also achievable given the right political will and commitment on the part of governments and the private sector.
ITU will undertake responsibility for measuring each country’s progress towards the targets, producing an annual broadband report with rankings of nations worldwide in terms of broadband policy, affordability and uptake.
The Broadband Challenge endorsed by the Commission recognizes communication as ‘a human need and a right’, and calls on governments and private industry to work together to develop the innovative policy frameworks, business models and financing arrangements needed to facilitate growth in access to broadband worldwide.
The Challenge also stresses the need to stimulate content production in local languages and enhance local capacity to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital revolution.