The latest publication of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) leaves no doubt – universal access to telecommunications services remains a distant dream.
It shows that as many as 3.7 billion people do not have access to the Internet, and thus are excluded from the direct benefits of the digital economy. This number represents 49% of the world’s population. The groups without Internet connectivity are concentrated mainly in the least developed countries, where last year only 19% of people had access to the Internet. For comparison, in highly developed countries this number is almost 87%.
The publication titled “The Last-Mile Internet Connectivity Solutions Guide: Sustainable connectivity options for unconnected sites” aims to solve the problem of Internet access limitations. These are due to several factors, ranging from the lack of adequate infrastructure and affordable Internet services to skills gaps, limited availability of personal devices, and perceived lack of usefulness.
The report contains numerous tools and solutions that can help politicians choose and adjust appropriate measures to expand Internet access in their localities. It will also be used in a number of ITU programs to design and implement sustainable connectivity solutions. One such program is a joint initiative of ITU and UNICEF called Giga to connect every school to the Internet by 2030.