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The State of Broadband 2018

Broadband Catalyzing Sustainable Development

image of The State of Broadband 2018

The report finds steady progress towards the Broadband Commission’s targets. Targets can play a significant role in informing, shaping and influencing policy priorities at the national and regional levels, and a growing number of governments now benchmark the status of broadband in their national broadband plans. The number of national broadband plans around the world has stabilized, while broadband is becoming less expensive, although achieving 2% of GNI per capita may prove challenging in many LDCs. Hitherto strong Internet growth rates have begun to level out, as networks reach near-ubiquity in densely populated areas. Other questions arise with regards to the online services popular among Internet users. Are Internet users really acquiring useful information and gaining digital literacy, or does web surfing for entertainment count as a socially useful activity? What do digital skills look like for the new online economy? Are legacy education systems able to adapt to generate the digital skills needed in the digital economy? The report reviews the implications of big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for development in education, health and our natural environment. Big data promises to improve our understanding of which policies work, and which don’t, and their impact for different stakeholders. Finally, the report concludes with a number of recommendations in different areas designed to advance progress in broadband at the national and international level in a coherent approach.

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Evaluating growth in broadband using the commission’s targets

In January 2018, at its Special Session at the Annual General Meeting of the World Economic Forum, the Broadband Commission extended and updated its existing five broadband targets to a total of seven targets. This report consider progress across all seven targets. Policy analysis and targets can play a significant role in informing, shaping and influencing policy priorities at the national and regional levels — for example, Viewpoint 11 describes how policy analysis has helped concretize policy thinking and priorities, from the perspective of the Government of Rwanda.

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