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UN Report Shows Access to Broadband for 177 Countries

24 September, 2012 – New York – The United Nations (UN) has released a report that shows 177 countries ranked according to their national broadband policies and the economic impact that Internet access and use are having on their populations.  The report, the first produced by the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, evaluates broadband around the world and the progress on the affordability of this service across countries.

According to Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), “Broadband networks and services are transforming our way of life. The Broadband Commission is committed to ensuring that the benefits of broadband are available to all.”

The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All, was released on 23 September at the sixth meeting of the Commission in New York, and was welcomed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who called broadband a “transformative technology that has the potential to spark advances across all three pillars of sustainable development: economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.”

The report reveals that while household Internet access has grown over the past year, individual Internet use continues to lag behind. ITU analysts believe that mobile broadband could be the platform that would help boost accessibility as it is a widely used technology. At the end of 2011, there were already almost twice as many mobile broadband subscriptions as fixed broadband connections.

The report also outlines the ways in which broadband is improving the lives of people around the world in terms of health, education, and payment systems, as well as the ways in which it is promoting innovation and fostering the acquisition of new skills.  It also highlights the importance of partnerships between the public and private sectors.  In addition, the report presents a list of recommendations for governments on how to accelerate broadband deployment, improve their infrastructure and implement regulation policies to be able to make progress on the set of anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The report notes a strong linguistic shift taking place online and predicts that if current growth rates continue, the number of Internet users accessing the web, predominantly in Chinese, will overtake English language users by 2015.

A copy of the report can be viewed at http://www.broadbandcommission.org/Documents/bb-annualreport2012.pdf

Source: United Nations