Broadband Commission encourages broadband to be deployed in world’s poorest countries

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development released a report urging governments around the world to create and deploy national broadband.

Governments implementing isolated broadband projects are inefficient and preventing infrastructure builds which are “as crucial in the modern world as roads or electricity supplies,” according to the report.

A study on China used in the findings suggests that every 10% increase in broadband penetration could contribute an extra 2.5 % to GDP. Other data in the report suggests that in low and middle income countries, a 10% rise in broadband penetration could add up to 1.4% rise in economic growth.

“This new Broadband Commission report indicates that improvements in broadband penetration directly correlate to improvements in GDP,” said ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Touré. “Basically, the more available and cheaper broadband access is, the better for a country’s economy and growth prospects.”

The ITU released a report in May showing that, on average, consumers were paying 50% less for high-speed internet connections than they were two years ago. The decrease in pricing was mainly in developing countries where original prices were very high.

The countries with the cheapest broadband prices compared to average national monthly income are all wealthy economies; Monaco, Macau (China), Liechtenstein, the US and Austria.

In 31 industrialised countries, consumers pay an equivalent of 1% or less average monthly GNI per capita for an entry-level broadband connection. Comparatively, in 19 countries broadband connections cost more than 100% of the monthly GNI per capita.

The report was release at the Commission’s third meeting held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

“Access to broadband is only one part of the picture – developing human capacity is absolutely vital, to ensure that individuals have the skills to make the most of new technologies,” commented UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova. “All factors – national, international, private and public – must work together to these ends.”

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