Broadband/Network | Infrastructure
April 3, 2014

Broadband Commission reaffirms crucial role in development

By Elaine Weidman Grunewald

At the 9th meeting of the Broadband Commission for digital development, discussion centered around how to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

I’m just back from the Broadband Commission meeting in Dublin, Ireland, graciously hosted by Broadband Commissioner Denis O’Brien. The Sunday morning session focused on the “Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda,” and was chaired by Ericsson President and CEO Hans Vestberg.

Everyone taking part in the session understands the ways in which broadband is impacting every aspect of our lives, while at the same time accelerating progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. However, we all share the same concern: how can we secure affordable access for all, in the shortest possible time, and in keeping with the goals of the Broadband Commission?

In September the commission published its Transformative Solutions for 2015 and Beyond report, along with a supporting manifesto which has been signed by 48 members of the commission to date. The manifesto, presented at a side event of the 5th session of the United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals in September, states that:

“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.”

So, the question we faced in Dublin was not what to do; the recommendations of the report were clear, and we reviewed progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as well as progress on our task group’s activities. The discussion now was far more focused on how to most effectively get our messages across to national governments and leaders who influence the global agenda in order to ensure that broadband is affordable and accessible, and that its benefits reach as many people as possible.

And there is one thing that everyone taking part in the session would agree on: that the world cannot afford not to have broadband as part of future Sustainable Development Goals.

The Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny summed up the role of the commission by saying he was: “…inspired to be here at the Broadband Commission with leaders who have the greatest potential to liberate people around the world in so many ways.”
See also

Read the ITU Press release: Broadband can solve the global development gap

This is a re-blog from Technology for Good Blog.


Elaine Weidman Grunewald is Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson. She joined Ericsson in 1998, and she is responsible for a number of public private partnerships which explore the use of Technology for Good, i.e. the use Ericsson’s core technology to solve some of the world’s most compelling challenges and help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals , including the Millennium villages, Connect to Learn, and Refugees United. She is a leading advocate of Technology for Good and represents Ericsson in a number of external fora including the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and the United Nations Global Compact.

Photo by Marius Masalar

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Broadband Commission reaffirms crucial role in development

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