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U.N. reports on broadband's global access

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Household Internet access has grown in 177 countries during the past year but individual Internet still lags behind, a U.N. report on broadband access said.

The report, released Sunday by the U.N. Broadband Commission for Digital Development, evaluates the roll-out of broadband around the world and tracks progress on its affordability in different countries, the United Nations said in a release.

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During a review of the report, "The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called broadband a "transformative technology that has the potential to spark advances across all three pillars of sustainable development: economic prosperity, social inclusion and environmental sustainability."

The report reveals that while household Internet access rose during the past year, individual Internet use lags behind. Telecommunications analysts said they believe mobile broadband could be the platform that would help raise accessibility because it is a widely used technology, the United Nations said.

At the end of 2011, there were nearly twice as many mobile broadband subscriptions as fixed broadband connections, the report indicated.

The report also outlined how broadband is improving the lives of people worldwide in health, education and systems of payment, among other things.

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The report stressed the importance of public-private partnerships, as well as the need for clear policy leadership to facilitate broadband usage worldwide.

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