2025 Broadband Advocacy Target 3

GET EVERYONE ONLINE

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. The internet and broadband provide an outlet for digital education, professional development, online business, and global connection. For this reason, the Broadband Commission established the “Global Goal of Universal Connectivity” in the 2020 Manifesto. This target is a foundational element to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

The original 2015 target was set to reach user penetration of i) 60% worldwide, ii) 50% in developing countries and iii) 15% in LDCs. This target was amended in 2018 to reflect a user penetration of i) 75% worldwide; ii) 65% in developing countries*; and iii) 35 per cent in least developed countries.  
*As of 2022, in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries).

Tracking progress

In 2010, about 2 billion people were using the internet, 29% of the global population. According to 2020 data from Facts and Figures, ITU’s annual overview of the state of digital connectivity worldwide, 4.9 billion people were connected to the internet in 2021, 63% of the global population. This means that around 2.9 billion people were left completely offline, 96% of whom live in developing countries, with some 390 million with no mobile broadband coverage at all.  

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Internet usage growth around the world had been slowing globally, and between major country groups. Since then, broadband has emerged as the “hidden hero” of the pandemic, becoming a channel for virtual health care, online and hybrid learning models and continuation of business through remote work options, and substantial growth has been made.  

The persisting digital divide confirms the need for global action to be taken in development of broadband infrastructure, access, and content. The Broadband Commission’s policy recommendations, found in the annual State of Broadband Reports, address demand-side challenges and barriers preventing adoption and use.