The ITU (International Telecommunication Union) is calling for broadband to be ubiquitous and affordable as they expect high-speed networks to transform the world. Currently around 30% of people in wealthy Western European countries have a broadband subscription and this generally costs about 1% or less of monthly income. The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have penetration of around 10% and costs around 5% of the average income whilst in the poorest countries, fixed broadband penetrates below 1% and costs more than 100% of the average monthly income.
|Country||Fixed broadband subscriptions
per 100 inhabitants
|Affordability of fixed broadband
as percentage of monthly income
"Broadband is today's truly transformational technology. As with the dawn of other inventions that profoundly reshaped our society, most of us are yet to see the tremendous power and potential of these networks. It's not just about fast web browsing. Through e-health, e-education, e-government, smart grids, smart transport systems and much more, broadband will power economic and social progress in the 21st century. When we first harnessed electricity, we thought: 'lighting'. But the advent of the power grid was the tipping point that led to the building of skyscrapers, the rapid rise of large-scale industry, mass mobility, and even – through labour-saving home appliances – the emancipation of women."Dr Hamadoun Touré, (Secretary-General) ITU
Dr Touré is also vice chair for the Broadband Commission who will be presenting a report to the UN on the 19th September which will detail the power broadband has to improve our world. They believe that it has the same level of importance as the basic infrastructure of a modern society such as roads and the electricity network.