International Telecommunications Union

UN Broadband Commission sets global broadband targets to bring online the world’s 3.8 billion not connected to the Internet

Fifty percent of the world's population is expected to be connected to the Internet by the end of 2019. This leaves the other half – an estimated 3.8 billion people – unconnected and unable to benefit from key social and economic resources in our expanding digital world. In response, the United Nations' Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has set seven ambitious yet achievable 2025 targets in support of  "Connecting the Other Half" of the world's population. 

Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development 2025 Targets:

Connectivity for a World on the Move

[Commentary] According to the International Telecommunications Union, there were more than 7 billion mobile cellular subscriptions by the end of 2015, a significant increase from 738 million in 2000. Moreover, the global proportion of the population covered by a 2G mobile-cellular network grew from 58% in 2001 to 95% in 2015, primarily in developing countries; and it is the developing world – driven by the increased affordability of devices – that will lead most of the growth in global smartphone adoption, reaching 63% by the end of the decade with an expected increase of 2.9 billion smartphone connections by 2020 (GSMA). Thanks to a ‘mobile first’ development trajectory, many innovations respond to the needs of an increasingly migratory population such as multi-SIM card phones, mobile money transfers, and low-value recharges.

“Sometimes Europeans see that we have good phones and ask, ‘Why does a refugee have a phone?’ These phones are like our visas. If we lose our phones, we lose our lives.”

[Amy Rhoades is the Community Engagement Programme Manager for the International Organization for Migration]