September 18, 2022

Accelerating the affordable broadband access by harnessing the power of commercially sustainable ecosystem

Contributed by:

Mr. Ziyang Xu

Chief Executive Officer, ZTE

This Commissioner Insight was published in the 2022 State of Broadband Report,

In 2021, only 96 economies met the target with regard to the data-only mobile broadband basket, and only 64 economies met the target with respect to the fixed broadband basket. Both of these figures have decreased compared to the previous year. To put it in a more tangible term, 4.9 billion were connected to the internet, with around 2.9 billion people were left completely offline. Within these 2.9 billion people, 96% of them live in developing countries, and 390 million of them have no mobile broadband coverage at all. 

With those challenges ahead of us, building a sustainable ecosystem to provide the affordable access for everyone which is in line with the spirit of “leave no one behind” became the connectivity imperative. There are a lot we can do to accelerate the broadband access, from space to earth, technology innovation, 5G, satellite, cable, fiber optics, universal coverage, wider bandwidth, and operator/vender’s obligations. More than these, working together with the regulatory bodies and the policymakers, we are able to implement the option to build a positive ecosystem driven by the promising business mode in addition to conventional approaches. This is, from my perspective, the game changer of offering universal and affordable broadband access.  

The ecosystem consists of at least two directions, to reduce continuously the per-bit cost inspired by endless innovations and to make the game profitable for all stakeholders by facilitating the adoption of digital economy. The former one naturally reflects the positive practice of the global ICT industry, in particular, vendors’ efforts in pursuit of the state-of-the-art technologies. However, the latter one can only work with the involvement of multiple stakeholders in the fully represented benefit chain.

I am personally confident that if we work together under the leadership of Broadband Commission, we can make it. Let’s work together and win together.

The ideas and opinions expressed in this insight are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of ITU and UNESCO or the Broadband Commission. The mention of specific companies, products or services does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by ITU or UNESCO or Broadband Commission in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.