“The State of Broadband 2015: Broadband as a Foundation for Sustainable Development” report was launched by the Broadband Commission on 21 September 2015. It shows that the overall growth in broadband has decreased significantly over the last years and the gap between the people offline and online remains persistent. 57 % of the world’s population are still not connected to the Internet. This report shall be considered as an urgent reminder and call to take action to connect the next and last billion people around the globe and to ensure that they have the capacities and content to make use of the Internet for enhancing their livelihood and achieve sustainable development.
The report traces the progress that has been made in broadband connectivity and points out future challenges and targets, including in the fields of education, content and multilingualism. The report provides a global snapshot of where the Telecommunications and ICT Industry stands with regard to fixed and mobile broadband deployment, affordability and usage, as well as the use of broadband for meeting the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
New figures in the report confirm that 3.2 billion people are now connected, up from 2.9 billion last year and equating to 43% of the global population. But while access to the Internet is approaching saturation levels in the developed world, the Net is only accessible to 35% of people in developing countries. The situation in the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries is particularly critical, with over 90% of people without any kind of Internet connectivity. The report identifies three major areas of action for realizing a connected future: the multilingual web, the extension to rural areas and the move towards an Internet of Things, as well as People. A specific focus lies on gender equality as a stand-alone target in access to broadband by 2020. Empowering women and girls online through equal access and usage of new technologies will support the vision of a “people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society” as envisioned by the World Summit on the Information Society. The report offers also concrete policy recommendations in order to maximize the impact of broadband.
The report provides a basis for the 12th Annual Meeting of the Broadband Commission, which will be held in New York on 26 September 2015, during the UN Summit for the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals.