Meeting The Global Broadband Standards

In a leadership summit held recently, the UN Broadband Commission on Digital Development issued four (4) new “ambitious but achievable” Broadband Targets for 2015 to world leaders, top policy-makers, industry leaders, users and consumers in both developed and developing countries. With the aim of making broadband policy universal, boosting affordability and accelerating broadband uptake, the UN Broadband Commission had set the following targets for all countries in the world to achieve in the next four (4) years:

  • Target 1: Making broadband policy universal – By 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access / Service Definitions.
  • Target 2: Making broadband affordable – By 2015, entry­-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (amounting to less than 5% of average monthly income).
  • Target 3: Connecting homes to broadband – By 2015, 40% of households in developing countries should have Internet access.
  • Target 4: Getting people online – By 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60% worldwide, 50% in developing countries and 15% in least-developed countries.

You would notice from the above that the UN Broadband Commission seems to be sidestepping the speed issue because the targets do not specify a data rate. The commission depended the move by saying that having no connection speed target should help minimize controversy and specifying data rate will also make it difficult to determine in 2015 whether or not the goal has been achieved.

Where is the Philippines with respect to the global broadband standards set by the UN commission? Is our country in a position to meet the 2015 broadband targets? Sad to say, many things have to be done by our nation’s leaders, policy-makers and industry honchos in the next 4 years for our developing country to attain the minimum figures in the targets.

Currently, according to studies, only one out of three Filipinos have access to the Internet. This is lower than figures shown for Malaysia and Singapore where 38 and 67 percent of their respective populations are able to log on to the Web. Our broadband providers are making inroads in enhancing their infrastructure but the the access rate they are charging us is still expensive and not affordable to many.

The tasks required to meet the targets set by the UN Broadband Commission are not easy and require close coordination between our ICT stakeholders and the government who needs to create a body that will serve as the focal point on meeting the global broadband standards. I personally believe that the creation of the Department of ICT (DICT) will be one big step towards attaining our broadband targets. What do you think?

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