UN Broadband Commission urges publicprivate partnerships to reach the unconnected

“ICT [information and communications technology] and broadband are linking everyone and everything for the betterment of economies and societies,” said Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Co-Chair of the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, during its spring meeting in Hong Kong.“We are motivated by wanting to have the global community connected, especially the billions of unconnected. We will succeed when we work together: government, industry and civil society leaders,” he added.The Broadband Commission was established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in May 2010 with the aim of boosting the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda, and expanding broadband access in every country as key to accelerating progress towards national and international development targets.Following adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, the Commission was re-launched as the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development to showcase and document the power of ICT and broadband-based technologies for sustainable development.According to a press release on the meeting, some 5 billion people are currently without mobile broadband access, meaning that the paths to access digital services and applications are blocked for much of the world’s population – holding back progress on sustainable development.RELATED: UN Internet Governance Forum closes with call to close ‘digital divide’The release also said that at the spring meeting, the need for a new deal between all players was roundly debated, with renewed commitment to work towards concrete actions that will effectively connect the unconnected with broadband – especially to support least developed countries. In particular, emphasis was placed on remote and rural areas which represent the biggest challenge and where barriers to access need to be also viewed through the prism of affordability and content, notably local and multi-lingual content.Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General and Commission Co-Vice Chair, stated, “ICTs underpin vital achievements and modern services in many sectors, and governments and industry must increasingly work together to create the conditions so badly needed to facilitate the growth of broadband for sustainable development,” he stressed.Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General and Commission Co-Vice Chair, noted, “We must ensure the digital revolution is a revolution for human rights, in order to promote technological breakthroughs as development breakthroughs.” read more

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Gilmore Nobody is going to be barred from the insolvency process

first_imgTÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE has insisted that nobody will be excluded from the new insolvency process.Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Gilmore said “exorbitant fees or attitudes by banks or professionals” will not bar anyone from taking part in the process.The new Insolvency Service of Ireland opened last week but concerns have been raised about fees charged by Personal Insolvency Practitioners (PIPs) and that some in mortgage distress will not qualify for the process.The issue was raised by the Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald who asked that Gilmore guarantee that no family will be denied access to a PIP because of inability to pay upfront fees of between €5,000 and €7,000.Gilmore insisted: “The reason that we introduced the legislation, the reason we established the Personal Insolvency Service, the reason we put in place the various methods for non-judicial debt settlement is so that mortgage problems and arrears problems will be resolved.”He insisted that nobody is going to be barred from the process which he said has to be done an individual, case-by-case basis.“We don’t want any issue of arrogance, we want this problem resolved,” he said.SNAs and medical cardsGilmore also said that the process of resolving the Priory Hall debacle has got under way this morning and said he hoped “there will be a resolution within a short period of time”.Earlier Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin asked Gilmore about the need for advocacy for children in the process of obtaining Special Needs Assistants, highlighting the case of five-year-old Kate Crowley, a severely disabled child, who was denied an SNA.Gilmore said that the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn was not aware of the issue but would examine the case and will respond to it. Martin said he was surprised that Quinn is not aware of it given he had written to the Department of Education.The Tánaiste also denied that there was a targeting of medical card holders after independent TD Seamus Healy asked: “When will you government stop terrorising elderly people and sick across the country?”Healy said that the HSE was “punishing and hounding elderly people” by carrying out the review of the medical card statuses.Gilmore insisted: “There are more people today with medical cards than at anytime in the history of the State.”He accused Healy of raising the issue to “make a political point and a political charge against the government”.Read: PIP apologises for comments about ‘bigger houses’ for professionalsMore: 140 calls to insolvency service in first day of businessAlso: Turf, arrears and everything else happening in Leinster House todaylast_img read more

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