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ITU and UNESCO set up the Broadband Commission for Digital Development in response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s call to step up UN efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Commission was established in May 2010, five years after the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and ten years after the launch of the MDGs. The Commission aims to boost the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda and believes that expanding broadband access in every country is key to accelerating progress towards these goals by the target date of 2015. It defines practical ways in which countries — at all stages of development — can achieve this, in cooperation with the private sector.

The Commission comprises a high-powered community, including top CEO and industry leaders, senior policy-makers and government representatives, international agencies, academia and organizations concerned with development. Leaders in their field, they each believe strongly in a future based on broadband and offer rich insights and experience in how to deploy and use broadband networks and services to the benefit of communities and end-users. The Commission embraces a range of different perspectives in a multi-stakeholder approach to promoting the roll-out of broadband, as well as providing a fresh approach to UN and business engagement.

The Broadband Commission engages in advocacy and high-level thought leadership to demonstrate that broadband networks:

  • are basic infrastructure in a modern society - just like roads, electricity or water;
  • are uniquely powerful tools for accelerating progress towards the MDGs;
  • are remarkably cost-effective and offer impressive returns-on-investment (ROI) in both developed and developing economies alike;
  • underpin all industrial sectors and are increasingly the foundation of public services and social progress;
  • need to be promoted by governments in joint partnership with industry, in order to reap the full benefits of broadband networks and services.

The Commission believes that high-speed, high-capacity broadband connections to the Internet are an essential element in modern society, conferring broad social and economic benefits. Without broadband infrastructure and services, developing countries risk exclusion from participation in the burgeoning global digital economy. The Commission aims to promote the adoption of broadband-friendly practices and policies, so all the world’s people can take advantage of the benefits of broadband.

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