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ITU Sets Global Broadband Targets for Countries
Source: ghanabusinessnews.com
Source Date: Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Focus: Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Created: Nov 01, 2011

The UN ICT agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has set new global broadband targets for countries to achieve by 2015.

According to a press release from the ITU, its Broadband Commission for Digital Development agreed on a set of four new targets it describes as ‘ambitious but achievable’ that countries around the world should strive to meet. It says countries should meet the targets in order to ensure that their populations fully participate in what it calls ‘tomorrow’s emerging knowledge societies’.

The new targets it says,cover broadband policy, affordability and uptake:

1. Making broadband policy universal. By 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access / 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 5% of average monthly income).

3. Connecting homes to broadband. By 2015, 40% of households in developing countries should have Internet access.

4. Getting people online. By 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60% worldwide, 50% in developing countries and 15% in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Commenting on the targets, Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Commission alongside UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, siad:“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 ITU says it will undertake responsibility for measuring each country’s progress towards the targets. It will produce an annual broadband report with rankings of nations worldwide in terms of broadband policy, affordability and uptake, it adds.

It indicates that 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.

It also urges governments to avoid limiting market entry and taxing ICT services unnecessarily to enable broadband markets to realize their full growth potential.
The ITU encourages governments to promote coordinated international standards for interoperability and to address the availability of adequate radio frequency spectrum.

“We note the importance of the guiding principles of fair competition for promoting broadband access to all,” it 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,” it says.

The Challenge, additionally, stresses the need to stimulate content production in local languages and enhance local capacity to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital revolution. (By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi)
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