The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development - annual spring meeting

28 Apr 2019 to 29 May 2019
San Francisco, California, the USA


Event report/s:
Noha Fathy

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development held a meeting at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, San Francisco Bay Area, California, on 28-29 April, under the theme ‘Shaping the future of broadband for sustainable development.’

The meeting, which was attended by stakeholders representing the industry, governments, academia, and UN agencies, looked at the work currently undertaken by the Commission's Working Groups alongside its achievements. It further discoursed the various approaches that could be embraced to accelerate digital transformation and the investment strategies that create an informed, inclusive, secured, and sustainable online environment.

‘Creating an attractive environment for investment in digital infrastructure must be one of our top priorities in order to achieve our goal of connecting the remaining half of the global population. Future networks like 5G and other emerging technologies are set to play a pivotal role in the digital economy. Our task is to ensure that they can benefit everyone, everywhere,’ noted ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. Three Broadband Commission Working Groups – Child Safety On-line, Digital Infrastructure Moonshot for Africa, and Freedom of Expression and Tackling Online Disinformation – organised onsite sessions during the meeting. Furthermore, two more new working groups on artificial intelligence for global health and on school connectivity were further proposed.

The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development will hold its annual spring meeting at the Facebook Headquarters on 28-29 April 2019. This year's theme is 'Shaping the Future of Broadband for Sustainable Development' and will allow participants to delve into topics related to digital transformation and partnerships in a post 50-50 world. With more than half of the global population now online, we face the challenge of achieving universal connectivity, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to be connected and benefit from the digital economy. Connecting the remaining offline population will require different approaches than those used to bring the first 50% online.

Will it be business as usual, or will new approaches and partnerships be needed to boost investment and funding across the value chain? How can we strengthen secure and trusted use, skills development and digital inclusiveness, leveraging the latest technologies?

The spring meeting will gather​ high-level commissioners and special guests from across a range of government and industry sectors. Several sessions will take place during the two-day event, including an update on current working groups: Child Safety Online: Minimizing the Risk of Violence, Abuse and Exploitation Online and Broadband for All: A 'Digital Infrastructure Moonshot' for Africa.

For more information, visit the event page.


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