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ITU, UNESCO Push for Affordable Broadband Everywhere by 2015

The International Telecommunications Union and UNESCO have set broadband targets for 2015, including that all countries should have a national broadband plan by that date, including making broadband part of their definition of universal service, something the FCC in this country is trying to do this week with its vote to remake the Universal Service Fund into a broadband connectivity subsidy.

That comes from the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, whose members include FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and representatives of Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Qualcomm and Intel

Calling them ambitious but achievable goals, the commission -- which is holding a broadband leadership summit in October -- says that to ensure that their citizens can be full participants in the increasingly broadband enabled "emerging knowledge societies," they should do the following:

1. Make broadband policy universal. By 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access/Service Definitions.

2. Make broadband affordable. By 2015, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (for example, amount to less than 5% of average monthly income).

3. Connecting homes to broadband. By 2015, 40% of households in developing countries should have Internet access.

4. Getting people online. By 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60% worldwide, 50% in developing countries and 15% in Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

ITU says it will monitor progress toward that goal and issue an annual report ranking nations on "broadband policy, affordability and uptake."