Newsletter Issue No 4, 2016

Broadband Commission activities in a nutshell



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On July 11, the Broadband Commission urged policymakers, the private sector and other partners to make deployment of broadband infrastructure a top priority in strategies to accelerate global development and progress towards the SDGs, in statement directed at key decision-makers at the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development(HLPF). The United Nations HLPF is a central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development affirms sincere conviction and belief in the vital role of broadband in building and transforming our economies and societies and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by world leaders in September 2015. We urge attendees to the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) to show their support for the global roll-out of broadband infrastructure and broadband-enabled applications and services to ensure inclusive economic growth and lift people out of poverty around the world.”


The Statement is available in the 6 UN languages

Other News

The IT Minister of India proposed to raise the minimum broadband speed in the countryThe IT Minister of India proposed to raise the minimum broadband speed in the country fourfold. Faster speeds are essential for the delivery of consumer services online and for a startup ecosystem to thrive across India. The minimum broadband speed of 2Mpbs set up by the National Telecom Policy 2012 goals is ranked among the slowest internet speeds in the world . The European Commission has found Italy’s high-speed broadband plan, with a budget of about 4 billion EUR, to be in line with EU state aid rules. The Italian National Ultra-Broadband Scheme will bring fast internet access to areas where it is currently not available. Guyana’s Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill passed into law after narrowly clearing a parliamentary vote. The legislation is designed to liberalize the fixed line market and paves the way for the government to end the monopoly of Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) on international voice and data transmission. Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure revealed that an additional 1.3 billion EUR has been allocated by the government for the expansion of high speed broadband networks in underserved parts of the country.
GSMA expanded its Connected Women Commitment Initiative. Launched in February 2016, the initiative focuses on reducing the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services. At the Mobile 360 – Africa conference in Tanzania, GSMA announced nine new signatories. GSMA members also committed to connect millions more women in low- and middle-income countries by 2020. The European Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) strengthened their collaboration on eHealth by updating the roadmap for their Memorandum of Understanding on eHealth/Health information technologies. Google Fiber is exploring wireless broadband. Incumbents are already driving down prices to compete with Google’s broadband pricing plan. The search engine giant is seeking permission from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct tests using 3.5GHz Citizens in 24 separate locations on a non-commercial basis. Public and private organizations were invited to share success story of broadband projects for the European Broadband Award 2016. Organized by the European Commission, the awards will accept applications until 15 September 2016. The winners will receive their award from Gunther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society and Broadband Commissioner, in November.

ICTs and Broadband reports – snapshot


ITU’s ICT Facts and Figures 2016 features end-2016 estimates for key telecommunication/ICT indicators. Advanced mobile-broadband networks (LTE) have spread quickly and reach almost four billion people (53% of the global population). But while the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions continues to grow at double digit rates in developing countries to reach a penetration rate of close to 41%, mobile-broadband penetration growth has slowed overall. Global fixed-broadband subscriptions are expected to reach around 12 per 100 inhabitants in 2016, with Europe, the Americas and the Commonwealth of Independent States regions having the highest rates of penetration.


The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) launched the 2016 State of ICT in Asia and the Pacific 2016: Uncovering the Widening Broadband Divide in August. The report revealed that the gap between advanced and developing countries in fixed broadband access is indeed widening. Unless targeted policy interventions are put in place, the trend will continue, to the detriment of future development opportunities.


ICT, Broadband and 17 Sustainable Development Goals – Columns & Blogs

The first report from the UN Secretary General on the Sustainable Development Goals launched the most comprehensive study of the future and the SDGs. It presented an overview of the 17 Goals using data currently available to highlight the most significant gaps and challenges. This first report’s goal is to inspire collective global action around the opportunities to improve the world and meet the 2030 Agenda.


The OECD’s pilot study on Measuring Distance to the SDGs Targets was a first attempt at estimating the distance that OECD countries have to go to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals set for 2030. Based on an innovative methodology, the study sought to help OECD countries establish their priorities and design the necessary policies to bridge the gaps.


No one left behind: broadband’s role in achieving SDGs.

Broadband is vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and plays a vital role in improving global sustainable development. The Broadband Commission issued a statement to the 2016 High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development urging policymakers, the private sector and other partners to make deployment of broadband infrastructure a top priority to accelerate global development and progress towards the SDGs.

Read the blog post by Doreen Bogdan-Martin



Carlos Slim’s Foundation launches new educational app. President of the Foundation and Broadband Commission Co-Chair, Carlos Slim Helú announced and presented, a free online educational platform aimed at expanding opportunities to anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection. Slim said the app was an important achievement for Mexico and a good model for other nations. A High Level Roundtable on Internet for All led by the World Economic Forum will convene its meeting on August 30-31 in Geneva, and will feature several Broadband Commissioners. This project includes actors involved in issues related to catalyzing internet access and adoption and accelerating impact through public-private collaborations. The annual meeting of the Broadband Commission will be held in New York on September 18, in conjunction with the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly. The objective will be to address the theme of ‘Broadband in Achieving the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.

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