Denis O’Brien to host UN Broadband Commission meeting in Dublin

12 Mar 2014

Billionaire businessman Denis O’Brien will host a gathering of 30 commissioners of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a group he helped to establish.

Established in 2010, the commission is a top-level advocacy group that focuses on strategies to make broadband more available and affordable worldwide.

The group has a particular emphasis on accelerating progress towards the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. 

It is chaired by president Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Mexico’s Carlos Slim Helú, with ITU secretary-general, Dr Hamadoun I, Touré and UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova, serving as co-vice-chairs.

Up to 30 commissioners from government, industry, academia and civil society will attend the two-day gathering, which will be held in Dublin from 22-23 March.

Key issues for discussion in Dublin include innovative ways of financing broadband roll out in underserved rural areas and strategies for further reducing the cost of broadband access.

“As well as the important work that will be done here I hope that this meeting will afford many of the commissioners an opportunity to witness first-hand Ireland’s economic recovery – and the many opportunities that this affords – as well as giving them a chance to experience aspects of Ireland’s rich cultural heritage,” O’Brien said.

Last September, at the eighth meeting of the commission in New York, the group released the second edition of its global snapshot of broadband deployment, entitled The State of Broadband 2013 Universalising Broadband, featuring country-by-country rankings based on access and affordability.

In that report, Ireland ranked 35th out of 183 economies for fixed-broadband access, 19th out of 170 economies for mobile broadband access, and 31 out of 192 economies in terms of percentage of inhabitants using the internet (79pc).

Internet of things image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years