UN Broadband Commission pushes public-private partnerships to reach 'the unconnected'

March 20, 2017 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Members of the United Nations broadband commission sya that new public-private partnerships are essential if broadband is to reach everyone and help accelerate the achievement of global sustainable development goals.

“ICT [information and communications technology] and broadband are linking everyone and everything for the betterment of economies and societies,” said Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Co-Chair of the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, during its spring meeting in Hong Kong.

“We are motivated by wanting to have the global community connected, especially the billions of unconnected. We will succeed when we work together: government, industry and civil society leaders,” he added.

According to a press release on the meeting, some 5 billion people are currently without mobile broadband access, meaning that the paths to access digital services and applications are blocked for much of the world's population – holding back progress on sustainable development.

The release also said that at the spring meeting, the need for a new deal between all players was roundly debated, with renewed commitment to work towards concrete actions that will effectively connect the unconnected with broadband – especially to support least developed countries.

In particular, emphasis was placed on remote and rural areas which represent the biggest challenge and where barriers to access need to be also viewed through the prism of affordability and content, notably local and multi-lingual content.