Achieving the 2025 Advocacy Targets

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 and through its annual Target Update Campaign. 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

155 countries had a national broadband plan or other digital strategic document emphasizing broadband in 2022, down from 165 in 2021. The number of economies with a broadband plan has slightly decreased over the past year as plans have expired and haven’t been renewed in some countries. While a plan is a useful starting point, it is important to know how well they are operationalized. An ITU report on financing universal access highlights the need for a change in thinking including alternative funding models as a way forward to “Universal Service and Access Fund 2.0”. The scope of such funding could also extend beyond infrastructure to digital transformation including targeting underserved groups such as women and girls, people with disabilities and the elderly regardless of where they live.  


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

According to the ITU’s 2022 Facts and Figures report, where data are available for both 2021 and 2022, more economies met the two percent affordability target for all five baskets of ICT services in 2022 than did so in 2021. Thus, 103 economies met the target with respect to the data-only mobile broadband basket in 2022 and 71 economies met the target with the fixed broadband basket (in each case 7 more than in 2021).


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

ITU data find that Internet penetration grew as a result of the pandemic. Internet use grew to an estimated 66 per cent up 6.1 per cent over 2021, up from 5.1 per cent for 2020-2021, but pales in comparison with the 11 per cent for 2019-2020 seen at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. That leaves 2.7 billion people offline, showing just how much remains to be done if the target of universal and meaningful connectivity that the world set itself for 2030 is to be reached. 


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

Digital literacy is one of the main causes of digital exclusion and often among the top answers when people are surveyed about why they do not use the Internet. According to the latest available data from the ITU, the relatively low level of skills in countries providing data contrasts against their high share of overall Internet use – 86%. This gap between individuals using the Internet and those with digital skills demonstrates that many may be using the Internet without being able to fully benefit from it or avoid its dangers.


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

Many MSMEs, particularly in low- and middle-income nations, were caught off-guard following the introduction of quarantines. With no broadband Internet access, they were unable to pivot swiftly to online operations to sell products and services. Connectivity data disaggregated by enterprise size is widely available for high-income nations, although not always for micro-enterprises. For most low- and middle-income nations, even aggregated data on total enterprises with Internet access is not available, let alone by sector. Hence it is difficult to gauge the severity of the problem.


By 2025, gender equality should be achieved across all targets

According to the latest ITU estimates, 69% of men were using the Internet in 2022 compared to 63% of women. Gender parity increased from 0.90 in 2019 to 0.92 in 2022. Some regions and income groups have reached gender parity in Internet use including high-income countries, SIDS, the Americas, CIS countries and Europe. The substantial gender gap in mobile Internet use in LMICs had been improving previously, driven primarily by South Asia where it decreased significantly from 67% in 2017 to 36% in 2020, according to GSMA. However, notable gender gaps in mobile Internet access persist in LMICs, and in some countries, the mobile Internet gender gap has even increased.