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GSMA Mobile World Congress: Expert Group Presents Broadband Commission with Solutions for Closing the Broadband Gap


An Expert Group of members of The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development today released the report “A New Deal: Investing in Our Common Future – Policy Recommendations to Close the Broadband Gap”. The report contains recommendations for policymakers, regulators and the private sector to address the “unacceptable, persisting digital exclusion” of half the world’s population.

Formed of private sector and government representatives, the Expert Group was convened by The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development in March 2017 to identify specific steps that need to be taken to close the ongoing gap in broadband coverage and usage.

Their report sets out specific actions for policymakers and regulators, addressing four key themes:

  • Healthy investment climate – including better broadband policy planning, stable regulatory conditions, and a smart strategy for generating public-sector revenue instead of targeted ICT taxes and fees.
  • Lower infrastructure supply costs – including greater sharing of telecommunications infrastructure and radio spectrum among operators; easier access to public infrastructure, rights of way and utility-owned fibre; openness to multi-technology approaches; release of more radio spectrum at lower cost and more flexible spectrum licensing.
  • Better functioning ICT markets – including completing market liberalisation, particularly in international services, and ensuring that competition is effective, including a fair return for regulated access to dominant operators’ infrastructure; using new forms of partnership and innovative technologies; improving transparency and efficiency of universal service schemes and maximizing the opportunity of convergence, allowing all types of services over any network.
  • Liberating demand for the wider digital economy to encourage supply and investment – including government digital strategies, an enabling and risk-based approach to use and protection of data, and minimal restrictions on data and content crossing borders.

“In our increasingly digital world, connectivity is the difference for many people between accessing employment, education, healthcare, e-banking and being left behind,” said Mr. Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General and Co-Vice Chair of the Broadband Commission. “The important set of recommendations presented in the Expert Group’s report provide concrete actions that can be considered to fast-forward broadband delivery of digital connectivity. In particular, we need to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment that will attract investment in ICTs, especially from the private sector.”

The Expert Group was chaired by Mr Philipp Metzger, Director General, Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM), Switzerland.

Metzger said: “Things don’t just happen – they are made to happen. This holds true for the broadband gap and how we can close it. The policy recommendations included in this report are very concrete; they address pressing issues that are hampering the roll-out of digital networks and services to people who desperately need them. This report is the result of a truly multi-stakeholder effort by committed experts who, regardless of whether they come from the public or the private sector, have gone out of their way to jointly propose solutions that will bring the benefits of digital connectivity to everyone, everywhere.”

The other members of the Expert Group were (in alphabetical order): Mr Scott Gegenheimer, Group Chief Executive Officer, Operations, Zain Group; Mr Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA; Dr Carlos Jarque, América Móvil; Mr Mark MacGann, Group Chief Corporate & Public Affairs Officer, VEON; Mr Kevin Martin, Vice President, Mobile and Global Access Policy, Facebook; Mr Paul Mitchell, Senior Director, Technology Policy, Microsoft; Hon Jean Philbert Nsengimana, former Minister of Youth and ICT, Rwanda; Mr Denis O’Brien, Chairman, Digicel Group.

Download the report at:

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

Contact information

GSMA Press Office
Georgie Callé

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