Newsletter Issue No. 5 2020

State of Broadband report 2020 Broadband Commission

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s 2020 State of Broadband report, released at the Commission’s 10th anniversary meeting earlier today, includes a rallying call to world leaders and heads of industry to place universal broadband connectivity at the very forefront of global recovery and sustainable development efforts.The State of Broadband 2020: Tackling Digital Inequalities, A Decade for Action, highlights stark disparities in access to high-speed connectivity that have prevented billions of adults and children from benefiting from remote working, learning and communication. The report also takes stock of progress made in expanding access to and adoption of broadband infrastructure and services, and achieving the Commission’s seven 2025 advocacy targets.   

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Access the interactive report on Foleon

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The Commission Manifesto calls on the global community to recognize digital connectivity as the foundational element of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Manifesto affirms the commitment of the Broadband Commission to mobilize efforts to achieve the ‘Global Goal of Universal Connectivity’ in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and other connectivity initiatives.  

Finally, it calls on all stakeholders to collaborate to: 

    • Establish a baseline for universal digital connectivity. 
    • Identify and support public-private financing of universal broadband, pioneering innovative hybrid and/or complementary, replicable and sustainable financing and investment models for all types of networks, and catalyzing impactful partnerships. 
    • Advocate for enabling regulatory environments in the field of ICTs, ICT capacity-building, and online safety and security, especially for children, as integral to efforts to achieve the Global Broadband Targets 2025 and the SDGs.
Download the report in English
Download the report in Spanish

Download the report in Russian


Download the report in French
Download the report in Chinese
Download the report in Arabic
The @UNBBCom Manifesto calls for collaboration in the #broadband community. “We, the members of @UNBBCom reaffirm our commitment to help achieve #UniversalConnectivity as a fundamental element of an inclusive and sustainable world” #digitalcooperation ➡ bit.ly/BBManifesto2020  
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This week is the online edition of Mobile Learning Week 2020 hosted by UNESCO and co-hosted by ITU. This year’s theme is Beyond Disruption: Technology Enabled Learning Futures. Mobile Learning Week 2020 is set against the backdrop of COVID-19 education disruption and response and will shine a light on prospects for technology-enabled futures of learning.

The program began on October 12th with high-level representatives of UN agencies, ministers, and experts sharing knowledge about ‘What worked?’ with regard to distance learning policies and specific policy advice on the way ahead. Broadband Commission Executive Director Doreen Bogdan-Martin delivered the opening remarks highlighting that, “at ITU, the critical importance of skilling present and future generations is driving an increased emphasis on digital skills development and capacity building” adding that “because school connectivity has never mattered as much as it does now, building on the work of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development Working Group on School Connectivity, which we were pleased to chair with UNICEF, and UNESCO, ITU has also added a bold new initiative to our digital skills portfolio. The Giga partnership between ITU, UNICEF and others has the ambitious goal of connecting every school on the planet to the internet, and every young person to information, opportunity and choice.”

The programming continues on October 13th, as the focus shifts to innovative technology solutions with featured solutions from event sponsors and members of the Global Education Coalition. Finally, Day 3, October 14th, is an opportunity to take stock of what still needs to be learned and explore how education systems can emerge from the crisis stronger and more resilient to future disruptions.  

To join the rest of Mobile Learning Week click here!  

On 2 October 2020, the High-Level Security Council Arria Formula Meeting entitled, “Access to education in conflict and post conflict contexts: Role of digital technology and connectivity” took place as part of the 75th UN General Assembly. With participation of Executive Director Doreen Bogdan Martin, and Commissioners Henrietta Fore and Paula Ingabire, speakers shared lessons learned and best practices in relation to expanding connectivity to children in conflict, post-conflict and post-disaster situations; and discussed how the Security Council and the UN System can support the implementation of resolutions aimed at expanding access to education to children in conflict and post conflict situations and affected by other major shocks. 

To watch the complete meeting video click here.

This timely new report is a carefully curated collection of the best strategies to strengthen the capacities and skills needed to help everyone benefit fully from digital transformation, no matter where they live and no matter what their level of digital skill development.  

Click  here  to access the ITU Digital Skills Insight Report 2020 page or  here  for direct PDF download. 

For more information, please also see 

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On 30 September 2020, the Child Online Safety Webinar hosted in Brazil and moderated by famous Brazilian TV reporter, Sandra Annenberg was broadcasted live on YouTube and Facebook. This event included the participation of ITU Regional Director Bruno Ramos, UNESCO Brazil Representative, Marlova Noleto, Childhood Brazil President, Roberta Rivellino and Queen Silvia of Sweden. 

Queen Silvia took the “stage” focusing on the importance of protecting our children and teenagers online and the difficulty of speaking about sexual abuse, stating that the abuse suffered by our children is real, not virtual or imaginary.  

Followed by ITU Regional Director Bruno Ramos, who in his opening speech, explained in detail the origins and work of the Broadband Commission, highlighting the objective of defending empowering regulatory environments in ICTs, capacity building in ICTs and online safety, especially for children. Quoting the BDT Director, Ramos reiterated, 

“What this data shows us is that there is a clear and urgent global need to work together to ensure that connectivity embellishes our children’s experience of the world, rather than impairs it.”   

After opening statements, speakers debated the issue of education and the importance of teaching children and teenagers to protect themselves online, and adults to better understand what online safety entails to guide the children around them was mentioned several times. With Director Ramos highlighting the role of industry taking on responsibility by creating safe products from the design stage. 

The Broadband Commission’s Working Group on Child Online Safety was launched in September 2018, it has since published a report to help guide a coordinated and global approach to combating the harms and risks associated with internet usage and children. The team continues to make sure the report is available across all UN languages, and is officially available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. 

To read the report click here 


The UN Broadband Commission Working Group on Freedom of Expression and Addressing Disinformation, co-chaired by UNESCO & Dr. Hessa Al Jaber was launched April 2019 to provide insights that stimulate creativity and innovation in tackling problems in broadband use while reinforcing freedom of expression and sustainable development, as well as help set agendas for future research. In addition to providing useful resources for stakeholders. 

On 29 September 2020 UNESCO hosted a webinar to discuss the impacts of online disinformation on universal access to information, and join with UN Broadband Commissioners Dr. Hessa Al Jaber and Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski, authors and experts to highlight key findings and practical uses of the new Broadband Commission Working Group report.  

To watch the full meeting click here – https://youtu.be/Po5xodEgfT0 

Working Group Publications

Case Studies

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Azerbaijan: A glimpse into the experience of Azerbaijan in broadband internet development, past achievements, current work and future plans.  

Carlos Slim Foundation: An overview of the Carlos Slim Foundation’s response to COVID-19 including, digital education initiatives, employee trainings and emergency healthcare responses. 

Digicel: How Digicel has developed experience in providing immediate assistance and support for Governments and providing sustainable aid, support and care for the citizens of countries experiencing natural disasters. 


Ericsson: Addressing the key socio-economic challenges the world faces in reaching universal connectivity; identifying barriers, proposed solutions and an Australian case study. 

Facebook: A look at Facebook’s commitment to advancing connectivity through its mission to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. 

GSMA: GSMA’s role in supporting and amplifying the vital work of the technology sector and contribution to the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development 2025 Targets like gender equality in access to broadband, expanding digital financial services and providing youth with digital skills.  


Huawei: A brief overview of the State of Broadband and how the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how full-fiber and 4G/5G networks, will be the indispensable cornerstone for propelling the digital economy forward. 

Infocomm Media Development Authority of Singapore: An explanation of the oversight and coordination of Singapore’s digitalization push and examination of how Singapore’s COVID-19 initiatives align with the three pillars of the Commission’s Agenda for Action. 

Intelsat: The Role of Geostationary Satellite Networks in Meeting the Rural Connectivity Challenge. An argument for integrating satellite backhaul into strategies to deploy mobile and Wi-Fi networks into rural and remote communities to close the digital divide.  

Report of the UN Economist Network for the UN 75th Anniversary Shaping the Trends of Our Time 

“The last 75 years have brought fundamental changes in the human condition. The global community has achieved a level of prosperity unimaginable a mere two generations ago. Global poverty has declined substantially, particularly since the dawn of the twenty-first century, and people everywhere are living longer and healthier lives. Democratic institutions have been strengthened around the world and become more efficient at delivering effective public services. The concept of universal human rights has evolved from an aspiration to the guiding principle of most societies and governments. “ 

Building on the last 75 years and looking forward to how we will shape the next 75, the Report of the UN Economic Network for the UN 75th Anniversary: Shaping the Trends of Our Time, has four key recommendations for effective policymaking to steer megatrends – like climate change, environmental degradation and aging populations – in the right direction.  2. Interventions with regressive effects in another area should be avoided.  

  1. Policies should build on the causal links among the megatrends. 
  1. Interventions with regressive effects in another area should be avoided.  
  1. Coordinated and well-sequenced interventions in different areas can exploit potential co-benefits and generate greater positive impacts. 
  1. Effective policymaking requires balancing trade-offs between gains and losses.

EQUALS Award Ceremony 

AWARDS | equals
  • The Equals in Tech Awards are given every year to organizations and individuals working to help girls and women gain equal internet access, digital skills and opportunities in the tech industry.  
  • The Awards Ceremony will be held virtually 6th of November 2020 at 1-2PM UTC. It will include networking, facilitated by a networking platform, before and after the event.