Achieving the 2025 Advocacy Targets

Universal connectivity, affordability, skills, access, equality and use

What are the 2025 Broadband Advocacy Targets?

The seven Advocacy Targets of the Broadband Commission reflect ambitious and aspirational goals and function as a policy and programmatic guide for national and international action in broadband development. Starting initially with four connectivity goals established in 2011, the Targets were expanded to five in 2013, with the addition of the gender equality goal, and eventually to seven in 2018.

How is progress tracked?

The Commission tracks progress on the Targets in its annual flagship State of Broadband Reports. Utilizing a variety of data sources, progress is estimated on these goals and multistakeholder policy recommendations are developed to suggest how to achieve them. The Commission’s Working Groups also address themes related to these targets to provide more in-depth analysis and detailed recommendations for all stakeholders. The Targets map directly onto the UN Secretary-General’s Digital Cooperation Roadmap areas of actions.


By 2025, all countries should have a funded National Broadband Plan (NBP) or strategy, or include broadband in their Universal Access and Service (UAS) Definition

Action to enhance broadband access is more likely when there is an NBP or strategy in place, and/or when broadband is included in countries’ UAS definitions. 2021 ITU data showed an increase from 102 countries with an established NBP or strategy in 2010, to 165 countries in 2020. In 2022 we saw the number of economies with a broadband plan slightly decrease due to expiration or non-renewal. A new way of approaching broadband financing is necessary, as highlighted in ITU’s report on financing universal access.


By 2025, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in low- and middle-income countries at less than 2% of monthly Gross National Income (GNI) per capita

Making broadband affordable is a critical step in achieving meaningful universal connectivity. While over the last decade there has been a trend of declining prices, affordability gaps have persisted or widened over the past years due to the COVID pandemic due to a drop in per capita income. Just 96 economies met the target for mobile broadband basket down from 103 in 2020 while 64 countries met the target for fixed broadband, down two from 2020.


By 2025, broadband-Internet user penetration should reach: i) 75% worldwide; ii) 65% in low- and middle-income countries; and iii) 35% in least developed countries

Access to broadband or the Internet is fundamental to inclusive and sustainable development. Internet penetration grew to an estimated 66% of the population in 2022, up from 54% in 2019. Use in 2020, year one of the pandemic, increased by 11%, the highest growth in a decade. In 2022, Internet use was 93% in high income countries, 61% in low- and middle-income countries but just 36% in the LDCs in 2022. Some groups continue to be left behind – like the elderly and people with disabilities. A GSMA report offers policy recommendations for the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities.


By 2025, 60% of youth and adults should have achieved at least a minimum level of proficiency in sustainable digital skills

Digital skills are essential for the meaningful use of broadband and internet-powered resources. Less than 40% of the population in 45% of reporting countries carried out at least one of the activities considered a basic skill (e.g., sending an e-mail with an attachment). Only 23% of the countries reported more than 60% of the population report having at least one basic ICT skill.


By 2025, 40% of the world’s population should be using digital financial services

Digital financial services present a tremendous opportunity to swiftly increase the number of people using the Internet and extend access to the social and economic benefits of digital resources. According to the latest data from the World Bank’s FINDEX survey, 64% of people aged 15 years and older made and/or received digital payments in 2021. This figure exceeds the target of 40% on a global basis. While low and lower middle-income countries and South Asia have not yet reached the target, they are on track to achieve it by 2025.


By 2025, improve connectivity of micro-, small- and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) by 50%, by sector

Getting MSMEs online will increase their competitiveness and allow them to participate in the global marketplace where online business transactions are increasingly the norm. For most low- and middle-income nations, even aggregated data on total enterprises with Internet access is not available, let alone by sector. A survey of informal enterprises in nine African countries found low levels of ICT use: use of the Internet was 7% on average ranging from 24% in South Africa to 1% in Rwanda. Over 90% of businesses surveyed in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda reporting not having a computer. This lag in adoption further widens the digital divide and contributes to inequality worldwide.


By 2025, gender equality should be achieved across all targets

Gender equality among Internet users is crucial for ensuring that the benefits of broadband reach everyone. Contrary to the progress seen in 2021, notable gender gaps in mobile Internet access persist in LMICs with 69% of men and 63% oof women using the internet in 2022. Though this improved to 36% in South Asia in 2020, progress has now stalled across LMICs and in some countries the mobile internet gender gap has even increased. In addition, women are currently 18% less likely (16% in 2020) than men to own a smartphone impacting on women’s access to and use of mobile money services.