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World's richest man backs global broadband roll-out

UN-backed broadband commission announced

Two United Nations agencies on Monday announced a new commission aimed at speeding the roll-out of high-speed broadband internet networks around the world to improve social services such as healthcare and education.

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development will be co-chaired by the world's richest man, Mexican telecom-magnate Carlos Slim Hélu, and Rwanda President Paul Kagame.

The commission, which includes 30 companies and organisations, will seek ways to speed the global roll-out of broadband networks as well as find new ways such networks can be used to improve a variety of social services, the two UN agencies, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a statement.

"It is very important that broadband be a high-quality universal service at a low cost," said Hélu, in a video broadcast, adding that governments around the world should make broadband access a top priority. "Broadband is not a gap, but a bridge between developed and developing countries, providing access to all of the services of modern society for the well-being of the population in general."


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