2025 Broadband Advocacy Targets / Target 3

2025 Broadband Advocacy Target 3


By 2025, broadband-Internet user penetration should reach: i) 75% worldwide; ii) 65% in low- and middle-income countries; and iii) 35% in least developed countries

Access to broadband or the Internet is fundamental to inclusive and sustainable development. The internet and broadband provide an outlet for digital education, professional development, online business, and global connection. For this reason, the Broadband Commission established the “Global Goal of Universal Connectivity” in the 2020 Manifesto. This target is a foundational element to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

The original 2015 target was set to reach user penetration of i) 60% worldwide, ii) 50% in developing countries and iii) 15% in LDCs. This target was amended in 2018 to reflect a user penetration of i) 75% worldwide; ii) 65% in developing countries*; and iii) 35 per cent in least developed countries.  
*As of 2022, in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries).

Tracking progress

ITU data find that Internet penetration grew as a result of the pandemic. Internet use grew to an estimated 66 per cent of the population in 2022, up from 54 per cent in 2019.

This represents a growth rate of 6.1 per cent over 2021, up from 5.1 per cent for 2020-2021, but pales in comparison with the 11 per cent for 2019-2020 seen at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. That leaves 2.7 billion people offline, showing just how much remains to be done if the target of universal and meaningful connectivity that the world set itself for 2030 is to be reached. In 2022, Internet use was 93 per cent in high-income countries, 61 per cent in LMICs but just 36 per cent in the LDCs (ITU estimates).

Percentage of individuals using the Internet, 2022

While Internet use is growing, some groups are being left behind such as the elderly and people with disabilities. GSMA published a report with policy recommendations for the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities. It draws on the insights of policy approaches in 28 countries providing a clear framework for action. Special effort is needed to understand and address the specific needs of people in these categories, including content that meets accessibility standards and customized training.