By Emmanuel Elebeke
The International Telecommunication Union has called on various countries in the world, particularly the developing nations to accord more priority to advanced broadband connectivity in the domain.
In a report made available newsmen, the Union remarked that advanced connectivity will deliver major economic benefits everywhere, if it is accorded the needed attention.
A statement credited to the Secretary General of the Union, Dr. Hamadoun Toure saidÂ â€œBroadband is no longer a luxuryâ€¦it is a core infrastructure of the modern economy.
Those who have it will prosper, those who donâ€™t will fall further behind,â€ saying that it is not just emerging economies that have a digital divide but also the advanced economies.
Quoting a study in the United States by the Social Science Research Council conducted early this year, Toure saidÂ that â€œlow income communities are marginalized without access to broadband â€“ and they know itâ€.
ITU emphasizes that broadband connectivity costs and policies will be key to effective economic stimulation. It noted that the ITU ICT Development Index list entry-level broadband costs on average at 167 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita in developing countries, but only 2% in developed countries, which it described as a formidable gap between both divides.
The good news however, according to ITU, is that prices are now falling significantly to create opportunity for the developing economies to measure up with the rest of the world..
Emphasising the importance of broadband to the people,Â ITU said individuals and communities connected to broadband could easily improve their living standards dramatically because communications connectivity is key to economic development.
Denied access to knowhow, or even market price data to sell their produce, it saidÂ â€œthey are stymied and trapped in deprivation.â€
ITU further describedÂ Â information poverty as the actual poverty, and quoting a recent study on Millennium Development Goals, it saidÂ some 1.4 billion people still lived on USD 1.25 or less per day, a bad development of the growth index of the sector.
Though, it noted that the trend has been an improving one over the past decade but was optimistic thatÂ better information access may make a substantial and life-changing difference.
On the micro level,, even for very small farming and fishing businesses, the Union said market-matching efficiencies will apply when there are good communications links, stressing that there is strong and positive correlation between communications and development.
On the macro-level, it saidÂ a national broadband investment will be recoupedÂ over a decade by the reduced costs and increased efficiencies it would deliver in electricity, transportation, health and education provision.
Alligning with the position ofÂ ITU on advancement of broadband connectivity, The National President of Association of Telecommunications Communication of Nigeria, Enr. Titi Omo-Ettu called on the government to payÂ urgent attention to IT policies that willÂ encourage our governments to appreciate the advantages of the service and invest in the promotion of its access to the people no matter their location, status or station.