State of Broadband Report: “We must invest in an ecosystem”

The ITU and UNESCO Broadband Commission for Digital Development has published a report on the state of broadband access across the globe that features the latest country-by-country data on state of broadband access worldwide.

The report came out in 21 September 2013 at the Broadband Commission’s 8th meeting in New York.

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was set up by ITU and UNESCO in May 2010. The Commission is trying to raise the importance of broadband at the international level in the belief that expanding broadband access is crucial in order to accelerate progress. In cooperation with the private sector, the Commission outlines the practical methods in which countries can realize said progress.

Said UNESCO’s Irena Bokova, co-Vice Chair of the Commission along with ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré:

The global roll-out of broadband carries vast potential for inclusive and sustainable growth and learning opportunities, to facilitate the exchange of information, and to increase access to content that is linguistically and culturally diverse. It can widen access to learning, enhance freedom of expression. But as we always say this does not happen by itself – it requires leadership: we cannot just invest in technology, we must invest in an ecosystem.



The latest State of Broadband report shows the progress of broadband from 2011, when the Broadband Commission for Digital Development released their last report.

According to the report, mobile broadband is the fastest growing technology in human history.

The Republic of Korea maintains the highest household broadband penetration at over 97%. Leading in fixed broadband subscriptions per capita is Switzerland, at over 40%. Just behind Finland and ahead of Japan is US in 24th place in terms of household broadband penetration and in 20th place in the world for fixed broadband subscriptions per capita.

Co-Vice Chair and ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré believes that this year’s report shows progress in broadband availability, but warns that undeveloped countries cannot be left out, as over 90% of people in the 49 least developed countries remain completely unconnected. He also thinks that internet is supposed to be priority even in the poorest countries, since it is a key for social and economic development.



This year a new addition in the State of Broadband report is the target of the year 2020 to adjust gender equality in broadband access. It was found that women are less likely to have access to technology than men; while this difference in developed countries is very small, it is enormous in non-developed countries.

Highlighted is also the importance of raising awareness about the fact that technology combined with relevant content and services can help  fill in a development gaps in such areas as environmental management, health, education, and gender empowerment.


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