Achieving the 2025 Advocacy Targets

Universal connectivity, affordability, skills, access, equality and use

What are the 2025 Broadband Advocacy Targets?

The seven Advocacy Targets of the Broadband Commission reflect ambitious and aspirational goals and function as a policy and programmatic guide for national and international action in broadband development. Starting initially with four connectivity goals established in 2011, the Targets were expanded to five in 2013, with the addition of the gender equality goal, and eventually to seven in 2018.

How is progress tracked?

The Commission tracks progress on the Targets in its annual flagship State of Broadband Reports. Utilizing a variety of data sources, it estimates progress on these goals and provides multistakeholder policy recommendations to achieve them. In addition, the Commission’s Working Groups address themes related to these targets to provide more in-depth analysis and detailed recommendations for all stakeholders. The Targets map directly onto the UN Secretary-General’s Digital Cooperation Roadmap areas of actions.


By 2025, all countries should have a funded National Broadband Plan (NBP) or strategy, or include broadband in their Universal Access and Service (UAS) Definition

Action to enhance broadband access is more likely when there is an NBP or strategy in place, and/or when broadband is included in countries’ UAS definitions. Recent ITU data shows an increase from 102 countries with an established NBP or strategy in 2010, to 165 countries in 2020. More work must be done to monitor and evaluate the current state of these plans.


By 2025, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in low- and middle-income countries at less than 2% of monthly Gross National Income (GNI) per capita

Making broadband affordable is a critical step in achieving meaningful universal connectivity. While over the last decade there has been a trend of declining prices, affordability gaps have persisted or widened over the past year. In 2021, only 96 economies met the target with regard to the data-only mobile broadband basket (7 less than the previous year), and only 64 economies met the target with respect to the fixed broadband basket (down by 2 from the previous year).


By 2025, broadband-Internet user penetration should reach: i) 75% worldwide; ii) 65% in low- and middle-income countries; and iii) 35% in least developed countries

Access to broadband or the Internet is fundamental to inclusive and sustainable development. In 2021, 4.9 billion people were connected to the internet, 63% of the global population. This means that around 2.9 billion people were left completely offline, 96% of whom live in developing countries, with some 390 million with no mobile broadband coverage at all.


By 2025, 60% of youth and adults should have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in sustainable digital skills

Digital skills are essential for the meaningful use of broadband and internet-powered resources. Even with this urgent and visible need, low- and middle-income countries continue to report a “lack of literacy and digital skills” as the main barrier to mobile internet use. Of the 76 countries sampled in ITU’s Facts and Figures 2021 report, in only 23% of countries did at least 60% of individuals report having basic ICT skills.


By 2025, 40% of the world’s population should be using digital financial services

Digital financial services present a tremendous opportunity to swiftly increase the number of people using the Internet and extend access to the social and economic benefits of digital resources. A 2021 study by GSMA finds that 96 low- and middle-income countries hosted 310 different mobile money services, with the number of accounts growing by 12.7% globally in 2020 alone.


By 2025, improve connectivity of micro-, small- and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) by 50%, by sector

Getting MSMEs online will increase their competitiveness and allow them to participate in the global marketplace where online business transactions are increasingly the norm. While the benefits of broadband connectivity are clear, MSMEs continue to face barriers due to lack of infrastructure, financing, and digital skills. This lag in adoption further widens the digital divide and contributes to inequality worldwide.


By 2025, gender equality should be achieved across all targets

Gender equality among Internet users is crucial for ensuring that the benefits of broadband reach everyone. ITU’s Facts and Figures 2021 Report found that in 2020, the divide had narrowed, with 62% of all men were using the Internet, compared with 57% of all women. While the gender gap has decreased in many developed countries, it has expanded in many developing countries.