Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, set up by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UNESCO, on Monday pushed for more concerted global efforts to improve broadband connectivity.
“As we discuss Fifth Generation (5G) broadband connectivity. it is around us to lead the way in driving innovation both in policy and business models in order to speed up the provision of broadband where it has been slowest to reach,” said Rwandan President Paul Kagame during a two-day meeting of the broadband commission that kicked off on Sunday in the Rwandan capital Kigali, Xinhua reported.
The two-day event focused on global Internet connectivity, vulnerable countries, epidemic preparedness, digital entrepreneurship and digital health, based on organisers.
“The truth is that all other digital services whether in commerce or education or healthcare run on top of broadband. Africa’s economic transformation requires broadband infrastructure with an emphasis on both access and affordability,” said Kagame, who is a co-chair of the commission alongside Mexican magnate Carlos Slim and ITU Secretary-General Zhao Houlin.
The commission was established in 2010 with the aim of boosting the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda and expanding broadband access in most country as key to accelerating progress towards national and international development targets.
Slim said that broadband services should be produced affordable in developing countries, at significantly less than 2 percent of monthly gross national income per capita in order to reach unconnected areas.
The commission has set a global broadband target whereby all countries needs to have a funded national broadband plan or strategy by 2025, said Slim.
“We are aiming at having the global community connected, especially the billions of unconnected. Government leaders and policymakers should help ITU in ensuring this becomes a reality within the next couple of years,” said Zhao.
Poor infrastructure in developing countries was slowing the growth of broadband connectivity, he said.
Based on ITU, 50 percent of the world’s population is expected to link to the Internet by the finish of 2019.