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ITU Aims At 20Mbps Broadband For All By 2020 154

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the share-the-knowledge dept.
Mark.JUK writes "Dr Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), has proposed to 'dream big' by setting a new broadband access target for the world. In short, Touré would like to see the United Nations (UN) update its global digital development targets to include a commitment that would require countries around the world to ensure that everybody can access broadband internet speeds of 20Mbps from just $20 by 2020. Easier said than done, especially in poorer countries."
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ITU Aims At 20Mbps Broadband For All By 2020

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  • Poorer countries (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hpa (7948) on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:09PM (#43210703) Homepage
    20 Mbps for $20? Easier said than done in the United States of Monopolies.
    • And never mind the "poorer" countries. Their biggest challenge will be Australia. Not because they cannot deliver a quality service, but because they will not.
      • by eksith (2776419)
        This struck me as particularly odd. Surely even while the government is trying desperately to copy the U.S. in things that don't matter, Australia's population would lobby for better service?
        • Not when politics comes into the equation. The conservative opposition have been quite successful in spreading FUD in the minds of the electorate that every major policy initiative is part of a radical socialist agenda designed to bankrupt the country.

          Deployment of a 'better service' will be scrapped in 6 months time with a change of government.

      • Re:Poorer countries (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sidevans (66118) on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:36PM (#43210827) Homepage

        Odd you say that, as Telstra (our local telco) has an obligation to provide a "phone" to everyone in Australia, even if it requires them installing a satellite dish or PTSN compatible 3G modem in the house at a total loss to the company.

        I worked with them and have personally spend 2-3 days trying to troubleshoot a single customers line problem, it wasn't until we pulled up maps we noticed the 3G modem we were using was 42km from the nearest mobile tower and the issue was weather. The tech who installed the node had modified a Yagi and pointed it a the mobile tower on a nice sunny day, and, defying everything thought possible by the hardware manufacturers, managed to get a stable connection and the longest distance most people had ever seen.

        Step outside the CBD and major cities in Australia then say Telstra doesn't provide a quality service, when they are the ONLY provider there... I used to be a Telstra hater until I worked for them in rural areas for a short time, the tech's who get out in the bush and provide communications for people are an amazingly talented group of people who will drive a 4x4 in the outback for 12 hours a day, just to fix someone's phone connection.

        I regret moving to vodafone that's for sure.

        • group of people who will drive a 4x4 in the outback for 12 hours a day, just to fix someone's phone connection.

          This sounds like a great way to retire after I'm done with my current career!

          • This sounds like a great way to retire after I'm done with my current career!

            Better make sure your skills are up to scratch. The guys who made it up to my property in TAS had been working with this kind of stuff for 20+ years. For all my earlier posts in this thread might have come across as whining about Telstra, I was and am. There is no other choice of provider here. But there are at least some of their guys with feet (and 4WD tyres) on the ground who have seriously good skills, and do their best to make an inadequate system work, and I salute them.

      • Re:Poorer countries (Score:5, Informative)

        by black6host (469985) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @12:28AM (#43210999)

        And never mind the "poorer" countries. Their biggest challenge will be Australia. Not because they cannot deliver a quality service, but because they will not.

        Look fuckers. I don't care where you live, or what the UN wants. If I can get away with charging $99.00 a month for 5Mbps I'm going to do it. I don't care where you live, what you do, or why you need it. The only thing I care about is how to get you to part with as much cash as possible and give it to me. BTW, way back when, when we first rolled out cable and you all thought it was worth it in order to watch TV without advertising? Priceless! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! See you suckers on the way to the bank!

        • It is delusional to take the title of a slashdot article serious without even having a quick glimpse over the links provided. The only new item on the official paper is, that they wish for a gender gap to be closed. Furthermore the president of that organisation gave a speech where he told about his wish for everyone to have access to a 20MBit connection at 20$ / month It is yet another misleading Slashdot headline you fell for; An all-year April's prank, so to speak.
      • Re:Poorer countries (Score:4, Interesting)

        by chrish (4714) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @07:52AM (#43212323) Homepage

        See also: Canada.

        Pretty sure our telecoms oligarchy (Rogers, Bell, Shaw, Telus, Videotron; generally "pick two" depending on where you live) spends more money convincing the CRTC they provide excellent service at a great price than they do on network upgrades and maintenance.

        • Please don't lump the West Coast telecoms companies with the East Coast telecoms companies.

          Shaw is doing some amazing things out West, and has been stringing fibre pretty much everywhere it can. 20/7 Mbps links are under $80 with many deals for less. And they have plans all the way up to 250 Mbs down.

          And, since Shaw has been doing all these upgrades the past 2-3 years, Telus has been forced to start stringing their own fibre around everywhere. While their ADSL is still limited to around 15/1 Mbps, their

        • I get 150Mbps for ~$100 from Rogers which works out cheaper per bandwidth than 20 for $20. That said past a certain point it doesn't matter, once you can stream 1080p torrents (yeah I know not raw but compressed) in real time your needs go away quite quickly. It then becomes a matter of how many simultaneous downloads do you really need. I'd pay $100 for 20Mbps with no cap though.

    • Yeah - I live in Northern Indiana, and my choices are Verizon Wi-FI with a 4 GB cap at $49.00 a month or dial-up. My dial-up costs $99.00 a year and is unlimited, with a maximum connect time of 8 hours. But no issues if I redial/reconnect immediately.
      • by firex726 (1188453)

        I live in the heart of Houston, one of the biggest cities in the world.
        My only high speed option is a local reseller monopoly that charges $90/mth for around 5mbps real world speed. Seems they make exclusivity deals with local Apt Complexes, and change names every few years due to the bad rep they keep getting from their piss poor service.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @12:01AM (#43210901)

      20 Mbps for $20? Easier said than done in the United States of Monopolies.

      How dare you say that, you unamerican, unpatriotic slime ball! You're just feeding into communist propaganda! Capitalism works because capitalism works, dammit. The only monopolies are the ones created by the government, blame them, not the capitalists who are the makers, not the takers. (pukes up on floor) The reason we don't have cheap broadband is because there's no demand! (pukes some more) Supply and demand mean that if enough people wanted it, someone would get up and do it, and it would be priced competitively. (dies of laughter)

      • Mod parent funny, please.
      • by roman_mir (125474)

        Capitalism works, and within free market settings where there is actual competition it works to increase everybody's wealth by providing choices.

        In absence of free market (as is the case with the United States of Monopolies, as you said), then capitalism is reduced to only a few capital holders that are working closely with the government. The government prints the money, 'insures' deposits and provides other forms of moral hazard. In USA at this point only the largest companies are still in business, the

        • I think you could have summed this up a lot better by just calling it what it is: fascism.

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        The only monopolies are the ones created by the government, blame them, not the capitalists who are the makers, not the takers. (pukes up on floor) The reason we don't have cheap broadband is because there's no demand!

        No, the reason we don't have cheaper broadband is because there are government mandated monopolies on both wired and wireless infrastructure. No amount of sarcasm on your part is going to change that.

        Supply and demand mean that if enough people wanted it, someone would get up and do it, and it

        • by Rockoon (1252108)
          I was going to post almost exactly what you said in response.

          Mod the parent up. There is no capitalism in American broadband, and its still mostly not that far behind other western countries. There are places with really shitty service/options, there are places with outstanding service/options, and there are places where this target 20mbps for $20 is nearly a reality already (I'm in south eastern connecticut and my ~$40 mid-tier service was bumped to 20mbps several months ago, and no caps or throttling.)
      • It is a matter of economic need I think. Would people like $20 internet? Sure. But they get enough value that it is worth more than that to them. For a starters it pretty much replaces the need for long distance phone calls. Then if you are open to being a pirate also replaces spending on movies, music and TV. Add to that that it is extremely hard if not impossible to search for jobs, do interviews etc without a web connected computer and it becomes a necessary service one peg down from the hydro bill. Sur

    • by game kid (805301)

      Why do you think the ITU approved that DPI standard [slashdot.org]? It's not like those prices would be due to proper market pricing and not massive subsidization of user data.

      Of course that assumes they didn't actually want their invoice price to be $20/month, so they could raie retail internet prices and do even more deep pocket introspection of their own.

    • Obviously, they will redefine what 'Mbps' stands for...job done.

    • by gravis777 (123605)

      You guys beat me to it. I recently moved across town. Before I moved, I had the choice of two internet providers - $30 for 30 meg or $40 for 6 meg with transfer cap. Hmmm, guess which one I chose.

      However, I then moved 30 miles across town. I am in MORE populas and RICHER area than I was before, and I have two choices, $45 a month for 15 meg with a transfer cap, or $45 a month for 20 meg with no transfer cap. Hmmm, which do I choose.

      Now, I guess you could always argue that there is also HuguesNet (prices sta

    • by Creepy (93888)

      My thoughts exactly. The day CenturyLink offers me speeds over 8Mbps for less than $90/month is the day Comcast drops prices for 20Mbps access below $50 (with Cable - it costs more if you don't bundle). If you think wireless is better, think again - they charge $10 per megabyte generally, and the ones that don't have really shitty service where I am. It is lose-lose-lose to the monopolies here.

    • I'll give you 20MB/s for 20$ right now.

      (with a 10MB cap and 5$ per MB overage)

      That is pretty much the model these days anyway.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Easier said than done anywhere, at the last broadband meter here in Norway the mean was 15.6 Mbps, the median 8.6 Mbps and the cheapest rate on the national survay $30 for 1/0.2 Mbps. "Everyone" will be way, way below the median so it'd need to get a helluva lot faster and cheaper real quick. I think 20 Mbps median in 2020 for $60 might be realistic here in Norway, but 20-20 in 2020 is in "and we'll all drive a Ferrari" fairy tale land.

  • by tokencode (1952944) on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:10PM (#43210709)
    And I want to stop world hunger and end all wars. We can even feed everyone on this planet and their goal is 20Mbps? I love the Internet and all, but considering the fact that many people still die of hunger and disease, isn't this goal a little lofty?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And I want to stop world hunger and end all wars. We can even feed everyone on this planet and their goal is 20Mbps? I love the Internet and all, but considering the fact that many people still die of hunger and disease, isn't this goal a little lofty?

      But think of all the food they will be able to order online.

    • by eksith (2776419)

      High-speed internet would give incentive to businesses (particularly small ones) to setup shop. This will help the local economy, which in turn will help feed the planet, save babies etc... etc... The space program is also a monumental waste of money if you discard how far society has advanced in almost every conceivable way as a result of it.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)
        Many of them don't even have reliable phone, electricity, water or sewage combined with the problems of war/warlords/racial and religious violence. Until those basics are addressed being able to have 20mbps is going to do nothing to encourage businesses to setup there. It is a nice goal, but it will be a struggle in the rich countries and is completely unachievable in the poor countries in that timeframe. Even Australia which has a current project to have its fibre network rolled out will not be close compl
    • i'm sure that's a goal too, but that's not news for nerds now, is it?
    • Ahaaa but we can't stop famine and wars if we do not have total control over the world's population (e.g., knowing where everybody is and what they are doing, you know, for statistical and planning purposes). Do you think that 20Mbps link is unidirectional???
    • Perhaps people should start eating birds on Tuesdays and drink more melted snow like we do in the U.S.
  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:36PM (#43210829) Homepage

    Yes, networks span over fiber optic. But to power the junction points that light up the fiber and distribute over coax and twisted pair is a big problem in many 3rd world nations. Reason being copper theft. It's big deal. It's a big deal here in the US too. But don't expect to sink a large investment into a nation if said investment can't be reasonably protected. South Africa comes to mind.

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      wireless power is the solution.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @12:55AM (#43211079) Journal

      I recall reading that telcos in Africa hired guards to protect the cell towers (and their fuel) from getting ripped off.
      When this didn't stop the problems, they created a program where the guards could sell minutes as a side business,
      which gave them an incentive to keep the service up so they could keep making money.

    • by jma05 (897351) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @03:08AM (#43211503)

      > Reason being copper theft. It's big deal.

      Well. Here in India, Internet and cable TV use wires hanging between buildings, and have done so for decades. Theft is not really a problem.

      The cheapest wireless internet we have is 256 kbps at $5 a month. That's quite adequate for everything but video. $10 for 1 mbps wired.

      The important thing is for everyone to with the most basic literacy to be able to afford unmetered Internet *access*. Higher bandwidth is much less important. Upper tiers just get used for entertainment and are not critical.

      I feel that making basic Internet access at limited bandwidth (256 kbps is fine, 1mbps is better if we are to target online education), available as free as radio waves or water, is a better goal than 20 for 20 by 20.

      Mobile phones are already very cheap here. Incoming calls are free. Outgoing call balance can be recharged with cards as low as 50 cents. So a poor family living in a hut with a leaky roof can still afford phones for each of its members for essential use. Internet should be as affordable as that and it will surely get there here without any ITU directives.

      • I live in India too and agree with all the statements, but disagree with the one that says Broadband is cheap here. You need to qualify that it is cheap due to restrictive caps placed on it. I am sure the $5 plan would be for 1GB/month. $10 for 1MBPS, would be what 3-5GB. And that too this is only in certain small pockets.
      • by mgcarley (735176)

        > Reason being copper theft. It's big deal.

        Well. Here in India, Internet and cable TV use wires hanging between buildings, and have done so for decades. Theft is not really a problem.

        Oh, but it is. And not just of the copper, but also of the switches and repeaters and pretty much everything that's not nailed down - and some of the stuff that is nailed down.

        The cheapest wireless internet we have is 256 kbps at $5 a month. That's quite adequate for everything but video. $10 for 1 mbps wired.

        The important thing is for everyone to with the most basic literacy to be able to afford unmetered Internet *access*. Higher bandwidth is much less important. Upper tiers just get used for entertainment and are not critical.

        While understandable if all you do is check your emails and slashdot, yeah, fine, 1mbit/s or even 256kbit/s might be fine... and there are definitely a lot of people who agree with you. But there are uses for high-speed Internet other than entertainment!

        Additionally, the case for unmetered (I presume you mean unlimited as in "can max

  • 20 mega-ponies-per-second.

    About as realistic.

    Seriously, this is a laudable "target" as long as everyone agrees that we are playing "horseshoe and hand grenades" rules, where close counts. If anyone thinks "we must do this, period, and if even one person on the planet can't get 20 Mbps for $20 by the end of 2020 then we've failed" and expects to "succeed," they are delusional.

    • Considering most DSL providers in the US think that anything above 128K is "Broadband" we've already gotten there then. Got a load coil on your land line? Tough shit. We're giving you the broadband we promised.

      • by AK Marc (707885)

        Considering most DSL providers in the US think that anything above 128K is "Broadband" we've already gotten there then.

        The FCC, to "protect" the people, defined broadband for us. at 128k...

  • Like telephone service spreading to the developing world, this won't happen with wires.

    I've got a 5Mbps wireless broadband connection right now, and that's WiMAX, old tech. Verizon's LTE does close to 10 Mbps. [pcmag.com].

    My connection costs me $50/month; if we imagine opening things up to real competition, $20/mo doesn't seem unreasonable.

    If we had the political will to make 20Mbps broadband as accessible as voice communication is today, yes, we could do it in under a decade.

    • Political will is trumped (or, rather, bought) but corporate profits. There will be no $20 high speed internet for the masses. 20Mb service is limited to those in isolated, affluent areas, and bundled with "telephone" and "cable TV" services for $100+/mo, or $100+/mo unbundled (what a bargain!). Want that without caps? Double it.

      Most places are either too sparse (or too mountainous) to be worth putting up a tower, or already locked into a monopoly provider agreement with the wired providers. And corporat

  • We get 360 Kbps on a good day with Frontier DSL, the only choice aside from satellite. Frontier bought Verizon's rural operations a few years ago and they refuse to upgrade. You can pay more (~$60-70/mo.) for a "high-speed" tier, but people report that your speed actually drops. Frontier is scum, the poster child for crap internet service.

  • ensure that everybody can access broadband internet speeds of 20Mbps from just $20 by 2020.

    I'm surprised they didn't make it "up to 20Mbps from just $20," in which case, mission accomplished!

  • Don't forget the pony!

  • by kenh (9056) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @06:21AM (#43211967) Homepage Journal

    Touré would like to see the United Nations (UN) update its global digital development targets to include a commitment that would require countries around the world to ensure that everybody can access broadband internet speeds of 20Mbps from just $20 by 2020.

    Please define everybody.

    Does this include folks in third-world countries? Does this include all regions of India, Africa, and China (as a few examples)? There are may regions without access to, for example, safe, clean, potable water - is high-speed access to Amazon really a priority in those locations?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      It's all bullshit anyway. We're not even going to have 20Mbps "everywhere" (I'm not even counting the people living in the hills or whatever) in the USA by 2020. We don't even have 2 Mbps everywhere now.

    • by pipatron (966506)
      The difference between internet access and clean potable water is that one can be had wireless with a handset that's not much more expensive than a large bucket. The other requires expensive infrastructure.
    • There are may regions without access to, for example, safe, clean, potable water - is high-speed access to Amazon really a priority in those locations?

      Yes, access to the world's largest river would be nice if you are short on potable water...

  • I somehow don't think they really care that we should have better internet connection. But how do you want to sell movies (sorry, rent them) via internet if you can't stream them in good quality? How do you want to keep tabs on everyone if their connection is clogged and they might be interested in reducing the traffic they don't benefit from?

    I'm not really sure I'm looking forward to these great times.

  • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Tuesday March 19, 2013 @07:14AM (#43212141)

    15 mbps for DSL lines, 30 mbps for cable TV lines, and 60 mbps for optical fiber lines. And that's the minimum. For cellular wireless, it should be 15 mbps for HSDPA+ 3G and 40 mbps for 3GPP LTE minimum.

    • by chrish (4714)

      As long as telecoms continue selling "up to" services with no minimum, you can get this now, everywhere in North America! Victory!

      And don't forget the ridiculously low usage limits.

  • Surely there are better things to do with our time and money than to pursue goals like this.
  • $20 in today's value, or in 7 years of inflation?
    I can already get 20M for $20. It just comes with a 5GB data cap...well I used to at my old address, now I'm further from the exchange and only get about 12Mbps. In two years I'll have access to 100Mbps, like most of the rest of my back-water country.

  • Although it was good to see at least mild-mention of the Poor,
    it'd be better to have service cost expressed -equitable- units,
    that recognized the vast differences in amount of human-time
    it takes - across the world - to earn $20.

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