GENEVA, Sept. 17 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 428 billion U.S. dollars is required to connect the remaining three billion people aged ten years and above to broadband Internet by 2030, according to a study by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) released on Thursday.
The study, titled "Connecting Humanity -- Assessing investment needs of connecting humanity to the Internet by 2030," examines the necessary global and regional investments to achieve universal, affordable broadband connectivity.
"Meeting the investment necessary to bring every person online by the end of this decade will require an unprecedented and concerted effort from the public and private sectors," said ITU Secretary-General Zhao Houlin.
Current ITU statistics show that over 12 percent of the global unconnected population live in remote, rural locations where traditional networks are not easily accessible, most of them in Africa and South Asia. This connectivity gap is exacerbated by the gender digital divide as more men than women use the Internet across the globe.
According to some of the key definitions used in the study, good quality broadband Internet refers to an average download speed of at least 10 Mbps with technology neutral, meaning data may be transmitted via cable, fiber, satellite, radio, or other technologies. And 4G should be used as the proxy for mobile broadband, and fixed broadband applied where most relevant.
The study admits connecting the remaining global population is an ambitious goal and a major infrastructure investment challenge, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic having exposed different types of inequalities within and across countries and regions, including those related to quality of access, affordability and use of the Internet.
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