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UN wants two-thirds of the world online by 2015

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Freedom to communicate is a human right – as is having a broadband connection, the UN said today. The global organisation, usually hell-bent on achieving world peace, argued that it would be quite nice if 60 per cent of the world had access to the net by 2015.

Governments should lift taxes on ICT services and free up radio frequency spectrum to fuel an expansion of networking, the UN recommends in its Broadband Challenge (2-page/185kb PDF) issued on Tuesday. Businesses should work out some smarter business models and the prices should come right down, the international law and security outfit declared.

The UN reckons that the target is ambitious but achievable.

In the idealistic two-page statement, the UN lays out how the benefits of broadband go far beyond enjoying non-laggy flying rainbow cat videos:

The benefits of broadband are profound – in opening up young minds to new horizons through educational technologies; in empowering women to expand their opportunities through genuine choices; in improving awareness of hygiene and healthcare; and in helping family breadwinners find work, a better salary or return on their goods.

El Reg is unconvinced that hygiene is the first thing everybody learns about when they get a high-speed connection, but all the better if they do.

The figures break down like this:

By 2015, internet user penetration should reach 60 per cent worldwide, 50 per cent in developing countries and 15 per cent in least developed countries. They want 40 per cent of households in developing countries to have internet access and that entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries (for example, amount to less than 5 per cent of average monthly income).

We look forward to it.

Read the UN's BroadBand Challenge here (2-page/185kb PDF). ®

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