U.N. Panel Issues Directive to Connect Half the World's Poor to Broadband by 2015

By Erin Harrison October 25, 2011

Governments around the world have less than four years to make sure that most of their poorest residents have Internet access. Aiming to close the “digital divide,” a United Nations panel has issued a global mandate for governments to connect nearly half the world’s poor citizens to broadband Internet by 2015.

During the U.N.’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development Broadband Leadership Summit, the panel said at least 40 percent of households in developing countries should be connected to broadband within four years, the Associated Press reported.

The panel, which represented industry, academia and governments, set forth details of the global broadband goal this week in Geneva.

“The head of the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, Hamadoun Toure, says the targets are ‘ambitious but achievable’ if governments work together with the private sector,” according to the report.

Many global groups and coalitions have said broadband access needs to be affordable even in the most impoverished nations, the AP said.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission outlined a plan that proposes to achieve universal broadband coverage by the 2020, TechZone360 reported.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski set forth a plan to “reform and modernize” the Universal Service Fund (USF) and Intercarrier Compensation system (ICC) in a speech delivered at FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C.

According to a statement released by the FCC, the pro-consumer plan will, if adopted by the Commission later this month, reform USF/ICC to “unleash enormous benefits including expanded broadband infrastructure for millions of Americans.”

If the plan is approved by the FCC, broadband build-out to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses would commence in 2012, according to Genachowski.


Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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