Fifty per cent of the world's population is expected to be connected to the Internet by the end of 2019. This leaves the other half – an estimated 3.8 billion people – unconnected and unable to benefit from key social and economic resources in our expanding digital world. In response, the United Nations' Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has set seven ambitious yet achievable 2025 targets in support of "Connecting the Other Half" of the world's population.
The targets were launched today at a joint meeting of the Commission and the World Economic Forum, held during the 2018 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The 2025 targets specifically seek to expand broadband infrastructure, and Internet access and use by populations around the world, in support of achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations and the international community in September 2015 – and in so doing, to improve livelihoods and economies.Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development 2025 Targets:
- By 2025, all countries should have a funded national broadband plan or strategy, or include broadband in their universal access and services definition.
- By 2025, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries, at less than 2% of monthly gross national income per capita.
- By 2025 broadband / Internet user penetration should reach: 75% worldwide, 65% in developing countries, and 35% in least developed countries.
- By 2025, 60% of youth and adults should have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in sustainable digital skills.
- By 2025, 40% of the world's population should be using digital financial services.
- By 2025, unconnectedness of Micro-, Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises should be reduced by 50%, by sector.
- By 2025, gender equality should be achieved across all targets.
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development brings together a high-powered and influential community – including top industry CEOs, senior policy-makers and government representatives, international agencies, academia and organizations concerned with development. Leaders in their field, they each believe strongly in a future based on broadband and offer rich insights and experience.
The Commission engages in high-level advocacy to promote broadband in developing countries and underserved communities, and is co-chaired by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and industry leader Carlos Slim Helú of the Carlos Slim Foundation. One of the central roles of the Commission is to promote the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda. In so doing, Commissioners work together to devise practical strategies – including private-public partnerships – that advocate for higher priority to be given to the development of broadband infrastructure and services, to ensure that the benefits of these technologies are realized in all countries, and accessible to all people.