October 4, 2021

State of Broadband 2021

The State of Broadband: People-Centred Approaches to Universal Broadband

Putting individuals at the centre as we build digital infrastructure and progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires concerted effort. This will involve moving beyond mindsets focused on technological fixes, and focusing on those user issues that limit adoption – socio-demographics, skills, affordability, relevance, content and trust. Efforts are required to direct funding to address the challenges of the unconnected. As new waves of innovation in digital infrastructure go mainstream concerted efforts must be made to ensure these developments particularly benefit low- and middle-income countries as well as developed countries.

This report details the current state of play, lessons learned from the pandemic, progress on meeting the Broadband Commission’s 2025 targets & the SDGs, and policy recommendations for a people-centred approach to achieving universal connectivity by 2030.

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Broadband Commission 11th Anniversary

Annual Fall Meeting of the
Broadband Commission

​​More than a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, amid relentless global demand for broadband services, the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has reaffirmed its call for digital cooperation, innovation with information and communication technologies (ICTs), and collaborative approaches to secure universal connectivity and access to digital skills.

The Commission's State of Broadband Report 2021​, released during the meeting, outlines the impact of pandemic policies and calls for a concerted, people-centred push to close the world's persistent divide. In the world's least developed countries (LDCs), no more than a quarter of the population is online…

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Working Group Publications

Broadband Commission Publication

Digital Learning

This Report introduces factors to make hybrid learning a viable option for students, requiring: deliberate planning, informed decision-making and substantial investment.

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Broadband Commission Publication

21st Century Financing Models

This Executive Summary offers recommendations to broaden the base, earmark proceeds from the ICT sector, reform USAFS and create an international fund to help realize the goal of universal connectivity.

Read the executive summary
Broadband Commission Publication

Epidemic Management

This Executive Summary covers: the current status of the COVID-19 outbreak, the need for a framework for responding to future pandemics & case studies from 15 countries.

Read the executive summary

News from Commissioners & Partners

Vodafone Announces a New Working Group on Smart Devices

Vodafone Announces a New Working Group on Smart Devices

A major new initiative has been launched by Vodafone Group Plc and ITU, the Broadband Commission to address the global digital divide, with the aim that an additional 3.4 billion people could have the ability to access and use the internet through a smartphone by 2030.

With mobile broadband (4G) networks now covering 82% of the population of Low- and Middle-Income Countries , the mobile usage gap is 6x larger than the mobile coverage gap.

The new Working Group will identify policy, commercial and circular-economy interventions to increase smartphone access.

Read the full press release
The New Times Reports on the Commission’s Annual Fall Meeting

The New Times Reports on the Commission’s Annual Fall Meeting

“Digital cooperation ought to go beyond ensuring access to broadband to close the gap in aspects such as the adoption of affordable devices and services, accessible content and digital literacy”, H.E. President Paul Kagame said.

H.E. President Kagame was speaking while chairing the Annual Meeting of Broadband Commission alongside Co-chair Mr Carlos Slim and Co-Vice Chairs Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and Mr Houlin Zhao (Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union)…

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Empowering the Continent - Commissioner Stephane Richard at MWC

CEO of Orange, Chairman of GSMA and Broadband Commissioner, Mr Stepháne Richard, spoke to the key solutions for addressing the greatest challenges in Africa at the 2021 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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Addressing hate speech on social media: contemporary challenges.

This new discussion paper is part of a series of papers unpacking key issues related to global challenges to tackle hate speech. It was commissioned and produced by UNESCO’s Sectors for Education and Communication and Information & the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

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Connectivity in the Least Developed Countries

This newly launched report produced by the ITU and the UN-OHRLLS, assesses the level of digital connectivity in the 46 UN-designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs). It provides practical solutions to improve digital access, as well as concrete policy recommendations to help accelerate progress towards universal and affordable connectivity.

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Financing Universal Access to Digital Technology & Services

Designed to provide practical guidance to ITU members and other stakeholders, this new report will contribute to reviewing and rethinking funds as a concept, exploring alternative models using a combination of monetary and non-monetary contributions and implementing innovative risk-mitigation mechanisms and financial solutions for smarter investments.

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Announcing New Commissioners

Merecedes Araoz

His Exellency
Mr. Majed Almesmar

Director General
of the TRDA

Mia Mottley

Mercedes Aráoz

Former Vice President
and Prime Minister of Peru

Majed Almesmar

The Honourable
Ms. Mia Mottley

Prime Minister of

Courtenay Rattray

Mr. Courtenay Rattray
High Representative for the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDs

Upcoming Events

For a full list of upcoming events and campaigns, check out our Editorial Calendar

UN Events
Global MBB Forum


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