Sunil Bharti Mittal signs new Broadband Manifesto

Sunil Bharti Mittal has signed along with 48 members along with other prominent figures from industry, civil society and the UN family for the new Broadband Manifesto recently released by Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

The Manifesto will be presented at a side event of the 5th session of the United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, to be held at UN headquarters in New York later today.

Other signatories to the Manifesto include Commission co-chairs president Paul Kagame of Rwanda and business magnate Carlos Slim, co-vice chairs Dr Hamadoun I Toure, ITU secretary-general, and Irina Bokova, UNESCO director general, along with prominent members of the Commission including European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes, business leaders including Anne Bouverot (director general, GSMA), Michel Combes (CEO, Alcatel-Lucent), Denis O’Brien (CEO, Digicel), Hans Vestberg (CEO, Ericsson), and Sun Yafang (chairwoman, Huawei).

Signatories also include: UN heads of agency including Kathy Calvin (CEO, UN Foundation), Helen Clark (administrator, UNDP) and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (executive director, UN Women), and prominent technology advocates including Academy-Award winning actor Geena Davis, Mo Ibrahim (chairman, Mo Ibrahim Foundation), Youssou N’Dour (musician and minister for Tourism & Leisure, Senegal), Jeffrey Sachs (special adviser to the UN secretary general for the Millennium Development Goals & director, Earth Institute, Columbia University), Muhammad Yunus (founder, Grameen Bank and Nobel Laureate), and many others.

Broadband infrastructure, applications and services have become critical to driving growth, delivering social services, improving environmental management, and transforming people’s lives, according to a new Manifesto released today by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

“Overcoming the digital divide makes sense not only on the basis of principles of fairness and justice; connecting the world makes sound commercial sense. The vital role of broadband needs to be acknowledged at the core of any post-2015 sustainable development framework, to ensure that all countries – developed and developing alike – are empowered to participate in the global digital economy.”

ITU figures released last month show mobile broadband over smartphones and tablets has become the fastest growing segment of the global ICT market. By end 2013 ITU estimates there will be 6.8 billion total mobile-cellular subscriptions – almost as many as there are people on the planet – and 2.7 billion people connected to the Internet.

Meanwhile, mobile broadband connections over 3G and 3G+ networks are growing at an average annual rate of 40 per cent. Almost 50 per cent of all people worldwide are now covered by a 3G network.

“ITU research clearly shows that governments are prioritizing ICTs as a major lever of socio-economic growth,” said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I Toure.

“Now, as we strive to define a new model for sustainable global development, we need to identify ways to enable all countries to deploy the networks and services that will help lift them out of poverty,” added Toure.

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