Broadband for the poor

Poverty>> Broadband • UN

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

imageArecent UN report indicates an immense global disparity in access to broadband infrastructure.

Broadband access is the cheapest in Macau in China, where it costs 0.3 per cent of the average monthly income. On the other end of the spectrum is Central African Republic, where it costs almost 40 times the average monthly income.

The UN released the report in September prior to its 2010 Millennium Development Goals Summit that aimed at reducing global poverty by 2015. While the summit has taken up the challenge to bridge the broadband divide, many development experts doubt whether technology can help mitigate poverty. Will it address the root causes of poverty? Is broadband necessary for improved quality of life?

Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union, said innovative programmes like e-health and e-education can accelerate progress on the goals.

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