The year 2010 marks the beginning of what must become the decade of broadband. To achieve this requires every country to build its social and economic
development on broadband. So, just like transport, energy and water supply systems, we must look at
broadband networks as basic national infrastructure. Those who build broadband networks now will have
the ability to better manage health care for their ageing or isolated populations, deliver the best possible
education to future generations, control and use energy supplies more efficiently and take better
care of our planet. They will also be able to meet the Millennium Development Goals more quickly.
This is why ITU has launched its “Build on
Broadband” initiative. I call on all our Member
States and Sector Members to promote broadband.
Countries which had a vision and the political will to
bring broadband to their people ten years ago are
already delivering essential services, such as e-health,
e-education, e-commerce and e-government.
I believe that we can replicate the mobile miracle
in broadband. ITU statistics show that mobile phone
subscriptions reached an estimated 4.6 billion worldwide
at the end of 2009, and are expected to rise
to 5 billion in 2010. Even during an economic crisis,
demand for communication services has remained
steady. I am confident that we will continue to see
rapid growth in mobile services, with many more
people using their phones to access the Internet. ITU
expects to see the number of mobile broadband subscriptions
exceed 1 billion worldwide during 2010,
having reached 600 million at the end of 2009.
Embracing broadband development will help
drive growth and deliver benefits right across society,
as well as across every industrial sector. For this to
happen, there must be a sound policy and regulatory
framework, a clear vision at the highest level of government
that should result in a clear national plan for
the deployment of broadband infrastructure.
Today, broadband is the engine for creating new
jobs, for enhancing skills for greater innovation, for
spreading knowledge and for sustainable development
through the provision of e-health, e-banking,
m-banking, e-education, e-agriculture, and other
e-applications on the horizon. Access to these services
must be affordable, equitable and available to all
citizens, wherever they live.
With governments working in partnership with
the private sector and civil society, nations can effectively
build their future on broadband. Let us start by
making 2010–2020 the decade of broadband.