January 23, 2022

New International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Study Estimates US$ 428 Billion are Needed to Connect the Remaining 3 Billion People to the Internet by 2030

From the ITU (International Telecommunication Union):

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published Connecting Humanity – Assessing investment needs of connecting humanity to the Internet by 2030, a comprehensive new study that estimates the investment needed to achieve universal, affordable broadband connectivity for all humanity by the end of this decade.

Connecting Humanity posits that nearly US$ 428 billion is required to connect the remaining 3 billion people aged ten years and above to broadband Internet by 2030. It is an ambitious goal and a major infrastructure investment challenge.


According to ITU, over 12% of the global unconnected population live in remote, rural locations where traditional networks are not easily accessible, most of them in Africa and South Asia. This connectivity gap is exacerbated by the gender digital divide. Across the globe, more men than women use the Internet: only 48% of women as opposed to 58% of men.


The key assumptions used for this study are:

  • Good quality broadband Internet is defined as an average download speed of at least 10 Mbps and is technology neutral (that is, data may be transmitted via cable, fibre, satellite, radio, or other technologies);
  • 4G is used as the proxy for mobile broadband, and fixed broadband applied where most relevant; and
  • The target population aged 10 and older is used as the baseline for calculating broadband penetration, and universal access to connectivity is defined as 90 percent penetration of that target population in line with the methodology and approach developed by the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development to assess the investment needs to achieve universal, affordable broadband for all of Africa by 2030.
  • The model is based on estimates on a country-by-country basis across a sample of 218 countries and economies, but it carries some constraints with respect to country-level granularity, and makes occasional region-wide, or cluster-based assumptions. For key network operating expenditure (OpEx) and capital expenditure (CapEx) assumptions, the model relies on data from a sample of “anchor countries” as explained in the Annex A of the study.

Direct to Full Text Study: Connecting Humanity – Assessing investment needs of connecting humanity to the Internet by 2030
36 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.