The UN's Broadband Commission for Digital Development has agreed on a set of four "ambitious but achievable" new targets for countries to target in broadband policy, affordability and uptake. The first aims to make broadband policy universal and targets a national broadband plan or strategy in all countries by 2015. This can also mean the inclusion of broadband in their universal access/service definitions. To make broadband affordable, the commission called for developing countries to take steps to ensure regulation and market forces provide for entry-level broadband services, for example, at a cost of less than 5 percent of average monthly income. This should support the third goal of 40 percent of households in developing countries with internet access by 2015. The final goal is 60 percent worldwide internet user penetration by 2015, including 50 percent in developing countries and 15 percent in the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The targets were unveiled at the ITU Telecom World event in Geneva. The commission set up last year is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Carlos Slim Helu, chairman and CEO of Telmex and America Movil. The ITU will undertake responsibility for measuring each countryís progress towards the targets, producing an annual broadband report with rankings of nations worldwide in terms of broadband policy, affordability and uptake.
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 urges governments to avoid limiting market entry and taxing ICT services unnecessarily to enable broadband markets to realize their full growth potential, and encourages governments to promote coordinated international standards for interoperability and to address the availability of adequate radio frequency spectrum. The Challenge stresses the need to stimulate content production in local languages and enhance local capacity to benefit from, and contribute to, the digital revolution.