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.



Executive summary

Since its inception in 2010, the UN Broadband Commission has united global leaders from industry, policy circles and academia in a mission to connect the world. Today, almost half of the world’s population uses the Internet for many purposes, including education, entertainment, civic engagement and e-commerce, while nearly a third use social media. According to recent statistics, the milestone of half the world’s population online will soon be reached, representing a momentous achievement.


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