CHAPTERS 3-4. ACCELERATING PROGRESS TOWARDS UNIVERSAL AND MEANINGFUL CONNECTIVITY & THE CRITICAL ROLE OF MIDDLE-MILE CONNECTIVITY
Michael Kende, Sonia Livingstone, Scott Minehane, Michael Minges, Simon Molloy, and George Sciadas,
ICT Data and Analytics Division of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Geneva, Switzerland
SYNCHROINFO JOURNAL. Volume 8, Number 4 (2022). P. 22-32.
The Global Connectivity Report 2022 takes stock of the progress in digital connectivity over the past three decades. It provides a detailed assessment of the current state of connectivity and how close the world is to achieving universal and meaningful connectivity, using a unique analytical framework. It goes on to showcase solutions and good practices to accelerate progress. The second part of the report consists of seven thematic deep dives on infrastructure, affordability, financing, the pandemic, regulation, youth, and data. Chapter 3 explores options to accelerate progress towards universal and meaningful connectivity. Expanding broadband networks is needed to eliminate the remaining blind spots and improve the quality of connectivity. Measures include reducing constraints on foreign direct investment to attract capital for upgrading and expanding digital infrastructure; ensuring sound ICT sector regulation to help build competitive markets and enhance predictability; promoting infrastructure sharing to reduce costs; ensuring the supply of adequate, inexpensive spectrum to help reduce coverage gaps; and ensuring sufficient capacity and a shift to new generations of mobile broadband. Solutions to ensure an adequate energy provision to power ICT infrastructure include policy incentives, reducing duties and taxes on green power equipment and allowing independent power producers. Chapter 4 explores the importance of middle-mile connectivity as countries develop digital economies – achieving better quality, lower costs and greater redundancy. The “middle mile” consists of infrastructure responsible for storing and exchanging data. It is an overlooked yet critical link in the connectivity chain, between international connectivity – or “first-mile” connectivity – and “last-mile” connectivity, made of the infrastructure that connects the users, which is hence more visible and tangible. The three key components of a domestic data infrastructure ecosystem are Internet exchange points (IXPs), data centres and cloud computing.
Keywords: ITU, universal and meaningful connectivity, critical role of middle-mile connectivity, digital connectivity, Internet of Things (IoT).
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