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ITU Wants Half of the World to Have Broadband Internet Access by 2015

Posted: 25th May, 2010 By: MarkJ
world mapThe International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has told the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC-10), which is currently meeting in Hyderabad, that it wants half the planet's population to have broadband internet access by 2015. The pledge is part of the ITU’s 'World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report 2010' (258 Page PDF).

The announcement follows a similar move by the European Commission (EC) last week, which set out the targets for its Digital Agenda (here). The agenda promised to help bring basic broadband to all Europeans by 2013 and superfast 30-100Mbps services by 2020. The EC hopes that its measures will also increase regular internet use from 60% to 75% by 2015.

Sami Al Basheer Al Morshid, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said:

"The number of Internet users has more than doubled since 2003, when the World Summit on the Information Society first met, and today more than 25% of the world’s population is using the Internet.

The importance of bringing people online is widely recognized, but more efforts are needed to increase the number of Internet users. While today 75% of all households have a TV, only 25% have Internet access. In the developing countries, home Internet penetration is as low as 12%."

Overall, the report concludes that while major achievements have been made over the past five years, more effort must be made in developing countries to achieve the goals and targets by 2015. The report makes three main recommendations on the policies and measures needed to help achieve the targets:
1. Ensure that half the world population has access to broadband by 2015.

2. Build an ICT-literate society globally.

3. Develop online content and applications.
The report suggests that governments take certain measures to achieve these targets, such as licensing Mobile Broadband operators and ensuring that broadband infrastructure is accessible to all citizens; a somewhat vague outline to say the least. It also recommends setting clear policy targets and monitoring progress.

The ITU and EU targets are roughly in line with that of the UK, which hopes to bring superfast broadband services within reach of "most" people in the country by 2017. The Conservative dominated government has previously touted a top speed of 100Mbps as their target, though we have yet to see any concrete detail.
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