Reinforcing Connectivity Initiatives for Universal and Affordable Access: A Discussion Paper to Partners Working to Connect the World
ICT technologies present unprecedented opportunities for advancing inclusive growth. Nevertheless, there are still large gaps in connectivity mainly due to the lack of effective policies, corresponding tools and investment. Filling these gaps can help achieve the full potential of these technologies and bring us closer to our overall goal of an inclusive digital society accessible by all. A growing number of governments, international organizations and ICT stakeholders are presenting and advocating initiatives, strategies and programs in relation to connecting the next 1.5 billion people.
Against this background, the UN Broadband Commission is hosting a Special Session in Davos on 21 January 2016 to facilitate alignment and collaboration among these established initiatives and foster joint investments and promote partnership, as well as help to contribute to maximizing synergies among various efforts to extend the benefits of connectivity worldwide. This discussion paper presents an overview of existing research with the aim of kickstarting a discussion to determine the investments needed to connect the world. Interested partners are invited to bring their expertise and data to join this effort going forward.
This note presents three statements together with supporting evidence and underlying assumptions to initiate the discussion by highlighting some high-level facts in relation to: (1) the impact that broadband may have on the economy generally, (2) the aggregate investment required to connect the next 1.5 billion individuals currently not using the Internet, and (3) the impact that a progressive enabling and regulatory environment has on broadband penetration.