When the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were originally defined in 2002, no one could have imagined what an important part Information and Communications Technology (ICT) would play in accelerating progress. Here are just some of the ways ICT brings each of these goals within reach.

Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

ICTs can help reduce poverty by increasing access to economic opportunities, allowing for the expansion of local businesses, strengthening social networks, and reducing and averting transportation costs. Access to knowledge assets—information, expertise, market price data, and basic healthcare and nutrition guidelines—can also improve living standards and bring people out of the poverty trap. Connectivity is key to making this happen; available data suggests a strong and positive correlation between communications and levels of development. At the micro level, even for very small fishing and farming businesses, good communication links facilitate market matching efficiencies.

Ensure environmental sustainability

Broadband networks have made an important contribution to ensuring environmental sustainability. These networks improve practices in agriculture and forestry; monitor air and water pollution; improve disaster warning and relief; improve the efficiency of the energy, transportation, and goods and services sectors; and harness social networking for transformative change.

Global partnershipfor development

Connectivity afforded by ICTs and the increase of broadband availability has encouraged global partnerships and facilitated cooperation in many areas.

Promote gender equality and empower women

Women remain economically and socially marginalized and undereducated in many emerging economies and rural areas. ICTs can give these women access to education, healthcare, government services, employment opportunities, and financial services. In particular, there’s a potential virtuous circle at play between mobile financial services and access for women. One study across five diverse, emerging markets shows that women consistently prove to be highly active household financial managers and could benefit greatly from access to mobile financial services.

Achieve universal primary education

Education contributes to the overall economic growth potential of a nation, and broadband-enabled ICT enables the development of m-learning and e-learning.

Improve health access

ICTs and broadband telemedicine have already made a significant impact with relatively simple and low-cost technology. It has helped to reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; and combat HIV/AIDs, malaria, and other public health issues in many areas of the world.

ICT brings doctors and patients together

Intelsat’s satellite technology supports associations in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. The Global Digital Solidarity Fund is using a DVB/SCPC service technology out of Intelsat gateway hub station in Fuchsstadt, Germany to support associations in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Burundi and Burkina Faso. The new Internet connections create a link with clinics located far from urban centers. Bush doctors have access to high throughput IP two-way connectivity with leading hospitals in Africa and worldwide. With this technology, patients can be monitored regularly, starting with their first visit to the clinic doctor.

Intelsat has also provided satellite capacity to support an international telemedicine network in Morocco. This network allows doctors at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to conduct medical consultations and training sessions with health care professionals in Morocco, increasing efficiency at a low cost.

Education via satellite

Intelsat and Mindset, a developer and distributor of educational materials in Africa, have developed a partnership to support increased access to education via satellite. Their mission is to provide quality Internet access and support to deliver educational materials to schools, hospitals, and clinics in South Africa, as well as to homes. Applications include distance learning, telemedicine, video conferencing, and voice communications.