Deploying fixed and mobile broadband networks will enable nations around the world to prosper in numerous ways, benefiting the lives of millions of people, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The organisation's 2010 Leadership Imperative (PDF) report, carried out by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, called on governments to put broadband deployment at the top of their agendas.
ITU secretary general Hamadoun Touré outlined his belief that driving broadband adoption is fundamental to the development of vital industries in the future.
"Broadband can accelerate growth and development in health, education, commerce, transport and energy saving. ICT has been playing a key role in all of these areas," he said.
The report highlighted statistics showing how broadband development can drive economic growth, citing research by the World Bank suggesting that broadband deployment in low- and middle-income countries can generate economic growth of 1.5 per cent.
However, the report noted a lack of broadband in developing nations, claiming that there are just 3.6 broadband connections for each 100 inhabitants in some countries, compared with 22.6 per 100 in developed nations.
Similarly, developed nations have an average of 40 inhabitants per 100 with mobile internet connections, compared to just 3.1 per 100 in developing nations.
This is a key area for the ITU, according to Touré, who outlined the Broadband Commission for Digital Development's goal to see mobile broadband access grow from 10 per cent of citizens in 2010 to 50 per cent by 2015.
"This will be the decade of broadband, particularly mobile broadband, just as the last decade saw the rise in the mobile sector," he said.
The report was presented to UN secretary general Ban Ki Moon in New York as part of a recommendation strategy to help the UN reach its Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
"The report is an important contribution to our efforts to ensure that the benefits of ICT can further the UN goals of peace, security and development for all," he said.
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