Global Broadband Commission Urges G20 To Act For Development

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The Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a mixed public-private sector leaders group aimed at boosting high-speed internet availability in the developing world, today issued an open letter to the leaders of the Group of 20 urging action which the commission says will lead to greater socio-economic growth.

The G20 leaders are meeting on 18-19 June in Los Cabos, Mexico. The G20 event link is here.

The Broadband Commission is associated with the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The Broadband Commission is made up of a high-octane list of about 60 top corporate, UN, and other officials from across the world, such as World Intellectual Property Organization Director General Francis Gurry; Google Vice President Vint Cerf, who was one of the originators of the internet; Mexican telecommunications magnate Carlos Slim; Rwandan President Paul Kagame; and information technology development legend Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh. See the list here.

In the letter, he commission placed broadband on par with other utilities such as water, roads, rail and electricity, and said governments must put in place pro-competitive and pro-investment policies, lowering barriers to entry and making direct investments.

“In the Information Society of the 21st century, countries must make the necessary investments to enable their citizens to participate in and benefit from the digital economy and global innovation – or risk exclusion,” the letter said.

The ITU press release with the full text of the letter is here.

Also this week, the Obama administration announced a plan to lower broadband deployment costs in the United States.
President Obama signed an executive order “to make broadband construction along Federal roadways and properties up to 90 percent cheaper and more efficient,” the White House said.

The White House fact sheet is available here.

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