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A Vision of Interconnected Knowledge Societies

November 1, 2011 - 0 Comments

If you want to motivate people to break free from the current status-quo, then raising the bar of expectations — with a compelling vision, plus some bold goals and objectives — is certainly one approach to consider. The Broadband Commission for Digital Development has issued a challenge to world leaders, their top policymakers and other key stakeholders.

The following is their list of raised expectations:

The Broadband Challenge

1. We call on world leaders to ensure that at least half the developing world’s population and 40% of households in developing countries are using broadband Internet by 2015. Consumers in all countries should have access to affordable broadband Internet services, including in developing countries.

2. We call on industry to develop innovative business models needed to realize this vision.

3. We call on governments to make broadband policy universal and to develop the enabling policy and regulatory frameworks to ensure that industry has a stable regulatory space in which to operate, flourish and harness broadband for sustainable human development.

4. We call on governments to develop policies and targets for online health and education at the national level to stimulate demand for broadband services.

5. We call on governments and civil society within a fully inclusive and consultative process to stimulate local content production as well as the development of local language services and applications for an inclusive digital world.

By all accounts, last week the ITU Telecom World 2011 conference included a variety of stimulating discussions about the reasons why we, collectively, must work together to achieve these important new goals and objectives. The background rationale for swift action was outlined, along with the Broadband Commission’s challenge.

I’ll share just a couple of their key points, and insert hyperlinks to our related commentary here on Connected Life Exchange — for additional insights.

Broadband as a critical modern infrastructure contributing to economic growth

We believe that the Internet and other ICTs now constitute critical modern resources and are a vital prerequisite for participation in today’s growing digital economy. In today’s challenging economic climate, recent research has shown that broadband infrastructure and services contribute to economic growth and promote job creation.

Expanding access to broadband infrastructure and services must therefore be a top policy priority for countries around the globe, developed and developing alike as well as Least Developed Countries.

We call on governments and business to work together to develop the innovative policy frameworks, business models and financing arrangements needed to facilitate growth in access to broadband worldwide. We also urge them to stimulate content production in local languages and enhance local capacity to benefit from and contribute to the digital revolution.

Policy Measures to Promote Broadband

We therefore urge governments to avoid limiting market entry and taxing ICT services unnecessarily to enable broadband markets to realize their full growth potential.

We encourage governments to promote coordinated international standards for interoperability and to address the availability of adequate radio frequency spectrum – recognizing that spectrum should be regarded as a resource for socio-economic rather than short-term financial benefit – for our rapidly developing broadband era.

We note the importance of the guiding principles of fair competition for promoting broadband access to all. It is essential to review legislative and regulatory frameworks, many of which are inherited from the last century, to ensure the free and unhindered flow of information in the new virtual, hyper connected world, recognizing that standards and safeguards developed in the physical world should continue to apply in the digital world.

You can learn more about the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, and the United Nations comprehensive Millennium Development Goals, by visiting each organization’s respective web site.

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