ITU Sets Broadband Targets in Advance of G20 Summit

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In advance of the G20 financial summit in Mexico next week, The International Telecommunications Union's Broadband Commission for Digital Development has set universal broadband targets for developed and developing countries.

The G20, which represents some of the world's top economies, was advised by the commission to treat broadband as they would other essential utilities, like water, roads and electricity, by "mak[ing] the necessary investments to enable their citizens to participate in and benefit from the digital economy and global innovation -- or risk exclusion."

The commission's broadband targets are that, by 2015:

*All countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access/Service Definitions.

*Entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (amounting to less than 5% of average monthly income).

*Forty percent of households in developing countries should have Internet access.

*Internet user penetration should reach 60% worldwide, 50% in developing countries and 15% in LDCs (least developed countries).

*We therefore ask the G20 leaders to consider the vital contribution that broadband and broadband-enabled applications and services can make to global and sustainable social and economic development and recognize broadband as a key enabling framework," said the commission.

In advance of the G20 summit, President Barack Obama, who will represent the U.S., signed a 'dig once' executive order to lower the cost of broadband deployment, and announced a new public-private partnership, US Ignite, to boost high-speed broadband and the development of new applications.