The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is an agency of the UN responsible for information and communication technologies. They allocate global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develop the technical standards that ensure interconnection of networks and technologies and work to improve IT and communications for communities worldwide. Yesterday the ITU released a letter addressed to the participants of the G20 postulating that expanding the reach of broadband and increasing its available speeds would enable the G20 economies to improve at a faster rate. This is similar to statements I have made in the blog over the years. Consequently, I am very pleased to see an organization with the influence of the ITU making such a statement.
The ITU asks the G20 to “… support the development of the broadband infrastructure and broadband-enabled applications and services which enable digital economies to grow and provide benefits to societies across the globe.” In exchange for this investment, countries would see an improvement in their GDPs and a burst in innovation. In a recent blog “The Internet, Broadband, 4G and Jobs” I reported that a 1% increase in broadband penetration is accompanied by a 1% increase in GDP and as broadband speed doubles GDP rises 0.3%.
Whereas I have emphasized the need to address access, speed and the price (ASP) of broadband, the ITU established four targets it believes should be a priority of the G20.
- Make broadband policy universal. By 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access / Service Definitions.
- Make broadband affordable. By 2015, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces.
- Improve access. By 2015, 40% of households in developing countries should have Internet access.
- Improve penetration. By 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60% worldwide, 50% in developing countries and 15% in LDCs (Least Developed Countries).
Perhaps the ITU sums up the benefit best by saying “Broadband moves innovation into people’s hands and homes, allowing end-users to take on new roles as entrepreneurs, software developers, lobbyists, activists, journalists and other content generators.”
Let’s see if the G20 will read and acknowledge the role of IP communications on the global economy. Even a single sentence would be appreciated.