Connect Humanity joins Partner2Connect Coalition
Pledges include unlocking $250 million to connect underserved communities
Photo © ITU/D.Woldu
Around three billion people have never used the internet — and many more lack the fast, reliable, affordable connectivity they need. To help accelerate progress to close this gap, we’re proud to join the International Telecommunication Union’s Development Sector (ITU-D) Partner2Connect Digital Coalition (P2C), and pledge to do our part in overcoming barriers to digital equity, so that everyone, everywhere can participate fully in a digital society.
This multi stakeholder alliance recognises that broad collaboration and partnerships are the only way we will achieve universal, meaningful internet access. P2C is a huge opportunity to spur the resources, policy change, and new approaches needed to meet this moment — and we’re committed to work alongside all who share this mission.
As part of our commitment to the P2C coalition, we are joining governments, companies and other civil society organizations in making pledges to accelerate connectivity globally.
Invest in locally-owned internet infrastructure
By 2025, we pledge to:
- Develop 50 more local community connectivity networks
- Unlock $250 million in financing for last-mile and unserved & underserved communities
While there remains a huge global need for internet connectivity, traditional operators alone have not, and will not, connect everyone. The good news is that a growing number of alternatives such as community networks, municipal networks, and social enterprises are successfully connecting those who have traditionally been left out. However, time and again we hear from communities who want to build these models that they face a lack of access to capacity and capital.
That is why we meet communities where they are, assessing their needs and tailoring a range of financial tools to help them sustainably achieve digital equity on their terms. Through our philanthropic grants, investment fund, and other support, we will help develop 50 of these networks by 2025 and make $250 million new capital available to invest in networks built by and for communities.
Develop research to unlock funding and support for community
Alongside Connectivity Capital, the Internet Society (ISOC) and the Association for Progressive Communications (ACP) we commit to undertake research on innovative financing mechanisms to connect the unconnected, and to use this research to advocate to unlock additional funding for community-based networks to connect the hardest to reach communities.
We will publish a joint-report to explore the opportunities for financing non-traditional operators. This report will document and analyze the operating models and financing mechanisms that can support the success of these operators. It is designed to help those who build and fund broadband infrastructure to identify and support sustainable solutions that can expand connectivity and accelerate digital equity.
For a more diverse and responsive ecosystem of network operators, we need investors, policy makers, and communities themselves to understand that there are effective, sustainable alternatives to legacy operators. Research is a powerful tool for making this case.
I’m at the World Telecommunication Development Conference in Kigali this week to make these pledges on behalf of Connect Humanity and to share our work helping communities build the internet infrastructure and skills they need to participate fully in a digital society. If you want to meet and learn more, message me on Twitter @jane_coffin or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.