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September 26, 2012

First Global Broadband Report Issued by United Nations

By Frank Griffin, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The goal of providing access to broadband is to bridge the digital divide that exists between those who have access and those that don’t. The United Nations has growing evidence that access to broadband makes tangible difference in moving progress forward and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The technology offers opportunities to developing countries so they can access the latest information about education, healthcare, banking as well as participating in opportunities previously reserved only in developed countries. The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All report by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development highlights a country-by-country look at the penetration rate of broadband around the world.

In 2011 the vast majority of the 589 million fixed broadband subscribers were located in the developed world. Mobile broadband on the other hand had 1.09 billion subscribers which is 18.3 percent of the 5.97 billion mobile cellular subscriptions around the world. The report points out mobile broadband will experience a faster penetration rate growing at 60 percent year-on-year reaching 5 billion subscribers worldwide by 2017.

Smartphones will see a dramatic increase in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East with two- to four- fold increases by 2017. The rise of mobile devices with broadband capability points out the need to increase mobile infrastructure because it is less expensive and cellular networks are already in place even in the most remote locations around the world. As the world moves away from desktops and laptops and towards smartphones and tablets wireless infrastructures have to be put in place to take advantage of the capability of these devices. Although these devices will be more affordable and more people will have access to them they still need a broadband network.

In 2010 the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and UNESCO established the Broadband Commission to highlight the need and provide universal broadband access connectivity around the world. The goal of the commission is to achieve the four targets set in 2011 for encouraging broadband affordability and adoption.

The four goals as written by the commission are as follows:

 Target (News - Alert) 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.

 Target 2: Making broadband affordable. By 2015, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (amounting to less than 5 percent of average monthly income).

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

 Target 4: Getting people online. By 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60 percent worldwide, 50 percent in developing countries and 15 percent in LDCs.

The importance of technology can not be underestimated because it has been and will be responsible for the advancement of human civilization. While in the past technology was preserved for the well off today the Internet has made possible to spread knowledge at a very fast rate with near equality amongst all socio economic strata.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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