Broadband Commission Fall Meeting

Newsletter Issue No. 5 2019

Recent Broadband Commission Activities

The Broadband Commission held its Annual Fall Meeting in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly on 22nd September in New York, during the 74th session o​f the UNGA. 

Press Release available here:

This year’s event highlighted the importance of leaving no one behind in a fast changing digital world. The agenda included on the top the meaningful universal connectivity, access and use themes also a new financing strategies to drive network expansion in developing markets, and presentations by the Commission’s two current Working Groups, which are both set to release their final reports next month.

Our Commissioner Mr Marcin Cichy, President of UKE in Poland presented the The State of Broadband Report 2019 during the ITU EKIP Regional Regulatory Forum for Europe on “Future Regulation for Inclusive Connectivity”

The World Radiocommunication Conferences are held every 3 to 4 years to review, revise Radio Regulations. Al revisions are made on the basis of a determined agenda by ITU council, taking into account previous recommendations made by WRC.

Hosted in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from 28 October to 22 November 2019, the event will debate on how to optimize the use of radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbits to improve the lives of millions of people.

New Commissioners

Makhtar Diop is the World Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure, a position he assumed on July 1st, 2018. The Infrastructure Vice Presidency comprises Energy & Extractives, Transport, Digital Development as well as Infrastructure Finance, Public-Private Partnerships and Guarantees. In this global role, Makhtar Diop leads efforts to develop sustainable solutions and help close the infrastructure gap in developing and emerging economies.

Prior to this appointment, Mr. Diop served for six years as the World Bank’s Vice President for the Africa Region, where he oversaw the delivery of a record-breaking $70 billion to Sub-Saharan Africa to help tackle development challenges such as increasing access to affordable and sustainable energy; boosting women’s and youth’s economic empowerment; and promoting an enabling environment for more innovation and technology adoption. A passionate advocate for Africa’s right to clean and affordable sources of electricity, he also called for greater investment in renewable energy and pushed for greater regional interconnectivity in the power and transport sectors.

Reports & Articles

The State of Broadband 2019was launched at the annual Fall meeting of the Commission in New York, just ahead of the 74th UN General Assembly.

Despite the measured growth in 2018 in Internet users, an estimated 3.7 million people remain unconnected. This year’s report focuses on new approaches and methods to breach the Digital divide.

The notion of ‘meaningful universal connectivity’ used to advocate for new digital strategies encompasses:  broadband that is available, accessible, relevant and affordable, but also that is safe, trusted, user-empowering and leads to positive impact.  Check the interactive version of the report here.

This year, ahead of the 10th Anniversary celebrations, Commissioners shared their insights in video messages.

The Broadband Commission Working group on Child Safety Online launched its report: Minimizing the Risk of Violence, Abuse and Exploitation Online on October 1st at the United Nations headquarters in New York. H.M. Queen Silvia of Sweden and the Executive Director of UNICEF, Henrietta Fore and The Director of the ITU Development Bureau, Doreen Bogdan-Martin delivered keynote speeches.

The report was developed by the Commission’s Working Group, co-chaired by CEO-Operations of the Zain Group, Scott Gegenheimer, and Joanna Rubinstein, President and CEO of World Childhood Foundation USA; two of the 60 Broadband Commissioners. The report is accompanied by a Child Online Safety Universal Declaration, which we hope will serve as an instrument for growing the army of child protectors.

“We need meaningful connectivity that can help us to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 of which SDG 16.2 calls for ending abuse, exploitation and all forms of violence against children.” Dr. Joanna Rubinstein mentioned in Samena trendespublication highlighting the increasing number of children getting online and the need bring awareness of the risks that come along.Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden says “The complex problem of online violence against children requires a multistakeholder interdisciplinary approach” which puts the Broadband Commission at the heart of the issue to help resolve it.

Under the leadership of the World Bank Group, and combined efforts of other Commissioners, the group Broadband for All: A Digital in​frastructure Moonshot for Africa“. with the objective  to achieve universal and affordable access to ICTs for Africa issued its final report during the World Bank Annual Meetings on October 17 at the World Bank headquarters in Washington ​DC.

Panelists Included Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, H.E. Aurélie Adam Soulé, Minister of Digital Economy and Communications of Benin, Makhtar Diop, Vice President of Infrastructure at the World Bank, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of BDT, H.E. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the AUC and Peter Ib, CEO of Bluetown.

The session was moderated by Lerato Mbele, presenter at BBC World News.

The report “Connecting Africa through Broadband: A strategy for doubling connectivity by 2021 and reaching universal access by 2030” was mentioned by Quartz Africa, highlighting the fact that $100 billion will be needed in the next decade to bring Broadband to all Africans by 2020. An estimated 70% of the population has access to mobile internet connectivity. Even though the access is available in all urban areas, there’s an estimated 100 million people in rural areas that remain unconnected, and need to be via a range of alternative means including satellite and wifi.

ITU reveals that in most countries worldwide women are still trailing men in benefiting from the transformational power of digital technologies.
Measuring digital development: Facts and figures 2019 the first publication in ITU’s new Measuring digital development series, estimates that over half the total global female population (52 per cent) is still not using the Internet, compared to 42 per cent of all men.

Upcoming Events

The Brighthood conference will be hosted on November 6 in Stockholm. It is one of the largest conferences in the world that focuses on concrete, innovative and effective solutions to fight child sexual abuse. Bringing together important stakeholders to demonstrate how each sector has a role in ending children’s abuse.

This year’s event focuses on how technologies and SDG’s are drivers in ending the abuse. Our Commissioner Mats Granryd, will be showcasing how SDG’s impact children and their importance moving forward. Dr Joanna Rubinstein will aslo be present to highlight the importance of governments, private sector and civil society in ending sexual abuse of children. Commissioner Rubinstein will also be presenting the Child safety online report and its recommendations.

This year is the 14th edition of the Internet Governance Forum, hosted by the government of Germany in Berlin from 25 to 29 November 2019 under the theme: One World, One Net, One Vision. The primary objective of the forum is to facilitate constructive dialogue between various representatives. Delegates discuss topics such as future opportunities and challenges presented by the internet, as well as analysing how to make full use of the internet’s potential.

Every year, the EQUALS in Tech awards are given to people who are helping girls and women get equal access, skills and opportunities online and in the tech industry. This year’s