Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content



The Working Group on Broadband and Science has produced a report containing a number of policy recommendations relating to the use of broadband networks and National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) to advance scientific research.

Executive Summary of the Working Group final report

​Broadband connectivity has become a basic infrastructure of modern society, just like roads, electricity or water. Science and education communities depend on "e-Infrastructures" that build on broadband connectivity to provide online services supporting the communities' work. Not only have these services today become indispensable, they have also transformed the scientific process by enabling the rapid sharing of knowledge, virtual collaborations within and between continents, and remote access to scarce scientific resources and instruments. Developing regions stand to benefit in particular because broadband networks reduce the barriers of distance and location, allowing scientists to be ‘linked’ the world over, and allowing international access to valuable work and databases in developing countries on challenges in areas such as health, HIV/AIDS and environmental, all highly relevant to the MDGs.​

Summary recommendations of the Working Group on Broadband and Science

  1. Sustainable, interoperable, efficient and accessible broadband infrastructures which can be used for Open Science, as well as for many other needed applications in fields such as health and education, should be a world-wide investment priority.
  2. Robust policies, legal and regulatory frameworks, as well as interoperability at national, regional and global levels are essential.
  3. Broadband e-Infrastructures should be explicitly referred to and appropriately funded in national research, innovation and education policies and in development aid plans.
  4. Research and Education Networks (RENs) should be given high political visibility towards governments, regulators and academia given their role in the transformation of developing economies into knowledge societies.
  5. National authorities and the relevant international organizations should promote affordable and fair access to broadband e-infrastructures via the establishment and consolidation of national, regional and global RENs.
  6. RENs should spearhead technological and service innovation in partnership with industry.
  7. Broadband e-Infrastructures should be leveraged for public service, such as e-Health, e-Government, e-Learning, e-Innovation and "e-Capacity Building".
  8. Broadband e-Infrastructures should support and encourage the involvement of citizens in science.
  9. Open Access to data and results emanating from publicly funded research should be ensured, enabling Open Science with major socio-economic benefits.
  10. ICT capacity building initiatives require urgent support, in particular for computational scientists and telecom engineers, and for RENs to operate broadband infrastructures.


The WG-S also identifies four elements of the Recommendations as short-term targets which could realistically be achieved by 2015. these are: (1) to launch an International Task force for scientific data access and interoperability; (2) to reflect e-Infrastructures in national policies; (3) to leverage e-Infrastructures for public service; and (4) to enable open access to scientific publications.


​ Members
Cisco - Bharti Airtel
KTH Royal Institute of Technology (SE)
Leibniz Compute Center (D)
Meraka Institute (SA) 
Knowledge Society Agency - UMIC (PT)
Instituto Nationale de Fisica Nucleare, INFN (I)
National Institution of ICT, NICT (JP)
Earth Institute
Internet Society ISOC
Internet2 (US)
GEANT expert group
European Commission
Ubuntunet Alliance (Uganda)
University of Brunel (UK)


  1. ​​The Working Group on Broadband & Science (WG-S) brings fresh perspective to the Broadband Commission , because the requirements of many advanced scientific applications are often considerably greater than what is usually talked about in the context of standard broadband services. ​​​​​​​​

  2. ​The WG-S has examined the requirements of broadband research and education networks (e-Infrastructures) for data-intensive scientific activities, and has drawn attention to the need for such e-infrastructures in developing countries; as well as the link between such networks and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 

  3. The WG-S has produced an insightful and thorough report highlighting the issues in relation to global connectivity for science, access and interoperability of computing networks and capabilities, the role of National Research and Education Networks (and the need to support them), the need for open access to data, the impact of Broadband for Science on public services, and the role of regulation in the telecom markets in many developing countries. ​

  4. The report offers a comprehensive set of recommendations for policy-makers, ministries and regulators which focus on raising the profile of e-infrastructure on national and regional agendas, especially in developing countries, and in view of supporting the MDGs.​


  1. ​The WG-S was created in January 2011 and held two video-conferences (26 May and 27 September) and a presence meeting (chaired by Carl Buhr on behalf of VP Kroes) on 27 Jun​​e in Paris on the margins of the OECD HL meeting on the Internet Economy (28-29 June). 

  2. ​​​​Four draft versions of the report were circulated and reviewed by an extensive group of Broadband Commissioners, representatives and additional contributors from academia, industry and public institutions; before its presentation to the Broadband Leadership Summit in October 2011.​


Final Report of the Working Group is available here -Broadband and science report 

 Press Release

No press release