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Non-English Internet Users, Mainly Chinese, To Outnumber English Users By 2015
240 days ago
(RTTNews) - The United Nation's Broadband Commission for Digital Development has released its first-ever country-by-country snapshot of the state of broadband deployment worldwide.
The report titled "The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All" notes a strong linguistic shift now taking place online. If current growth rates continue, it says, the number of Internet users accessing the Internet in languages other than English (predominantly, in Chinese) will overtake English language users by 2015.
"Languages are people's most valuable asset. They allow us to be heard, to learn and to communicate," said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. "Multilingualism on the Internet can be a great enabler for achieving the Millennium Development Goals and contributing to building knowledge societies," she said referring to UNESCO's work to promote the production and access to all types of content - educational, scientific, cultural and recreational - in diverse formats and languages on the Internet.
The report evaluates the roll-out of broadband around the world and tracks progress towards achieving the four targets set by the Commission in 2011 for boosting broadband affordability and uptake. It provides country rankings across up to 177 economies on affordability, national broadband policy, and connecting people and dwellings.
The report was released at the sixth meeting of the Commission, which was held on Monday in New York to coincide with the 67th session of the U.N. General Assembly.
Welcoming the gathering, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called broadband a "transformative technology that has the potential to spark advances across all three pillars of sustainable development: economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability."
The report reveals that while household Internet access has seen strong growth over the past year and is on track to achieve the Commission's target for Connecting Homes to Broadband, individual Internet use continues to lag behind. ITU analysts believe that mobile broadband could prove the platform for achieving the boost needed to get progress back on track - at end 2011, there were already almost twice as many mobile broadband subscriptions as fixed connections.
"Broadband networks and services are transforming our way of life. The Broadband Commission is committed to ensuring that the benefits of broadband are available to all. I am delighted by the dedication and enthusiasm shown by the many senior business leaders and top policy-makers on the Commission to advancing the global broadband policy agenda," said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré.
The report outlines a variety of ways in which broadband is improving the lives of people around the world, in m-health, distance education and m-learning, via m-payment systems, and in improving the lives of women, promoting innovation and fostering the acquisition of new skills. It also reinforces a clear need for policy leadership to facilitate the deployment of broadband around the world. Currently, some 119 countries have a national broadband plan or policy in place.
The State of Broadband 2012 report draws on ITU's extensive statistical evidence base and is the result of close collaboration between Broadband Commissioners. Based on interviews, contributions and supporting material from more than 20 experts and their organizations, it highlights the importance of public private partnerships in accelerating change, presents 12 recommendations from the Commission to speed up the roll-out and deployment of broadband to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and includes 24 'featured insights' from the Commission, which comprises 60 leaders from industry, government, international organizations and NGOs.
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