ITU worried over connectivity gap between urban, rural communities

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THE International Telecommunications Union, ITU, is worried that the internet connectivity gap between urban and rural communities across the globe, has continued to widen. ITU is of the view that if the trend is not addressed, it could jeopardise the full attainment of the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and the global digital transformation agenda.

In Nigeria, the telecoms industry regulatory body, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, had since noticed such trend in Nigeria, and had therefore set up the Universal Service Provision Fund, USPF, to fund telecoms operators, who have the capacity and are willing to roll out services in underserved and unserved communities across the country.

This was in addition to the licensing of Infrastructure Companies, InfraCos, in seven locations across the six geopolitical regions of the country by the NCC, while mandating the InfraCos to rollout broadband internet services across the country, including rural communities in order to bridge the digital divide and address the connectivity gap in the country.

According to a new report tagged: ‘Measuring Digital Development: Facts and Figures 2020, “connectivity gaps in rural areas are particularly pronounced in the least developed countries, LDCs, where 17 percent of the rural population live in areas with no mobile coverage at all, and 19 percent of the rural population is covered by only a 2G network. But virtually, all urban areas in the world are covered by a mobile broadband network.”

The report further cited 2019 data report, which stated that globally about 72 percent of households in urban areas had access to the internet at home, almost twice as much as in rural areas that is 38 percent.

Worried about the development, Houlin Zhao, secretary-general, ITU, said: “How much longer can we tolerate the significant gap in household connectivity between urban and rural areas. In the age of COVID-19, where so many are working and studying from home, this edition of Measuring Digital Development: Facts and Figures, send the clear message that accelerating infrastructure rollout is one of the most urgent and defining issues of our time.”

– Dec. 4, 2020 @ 15:25 GMT |

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