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Broadband adoption rates continue to increase quarter-on-quarter around the world, but this doesn't mean service providers can afford to rest on their laurels.

According to the International Telecommunications Union – an offshoot of the United Nations – more needs to be done to encourage internet use in many parts of the world.

As such, the agency has outlined a new Broadband Challenge, which sets a number of digital development targets for countries to meet.

Firstly, nations need to ensure they formulate a universal broadband policy, the ITU instructed.

"By 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access/Service Definitions," the organisation claimed.

Countries also need to ensure they make broadband affordable for all consumers, it said.

The ITU added: "By 2015, entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (for example, amount to less than five per cent of average monthly income)."

Connecting homes to broadband should be an overriding priority, the ITU claimed, with 40 per cent of households in developing countries connected to the web.

"By 2015, internet user penetration should reach 60 per cent worldwide, 50 per cent in developing countries and 15 per cent in Least Developed Countries, the organisation said.

Dr Hamadoun Touré, ITU Secretary-General, said the broadband targets are "ambitious but achievable".

All that is needed is political will and commitment on the part of governments, working in partnership with the private sector, he added.

The European Commission has set its own targets for the rollout of broadband services, including super-fast fibre broadband.

All European Union citizens should have access to basic internet services by 2013, and then a 30Mb connection by the end of the decade.

The Commission also wants to see half of all people living in the 27 member states subscribing to a 100Mb broadband deal by 2020.

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