Gathering for an e-meeting, over 100 international leaders from a range of wireless operators met to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on different aspects of the telecommunications industry. The resulting Agenda for Action has three main points: Resilient Connectivity, Affordable Access, and Safe Use for Informed and Educated Societies.
The press release outlines measures that can be adopted by governments, businesseses, and the international community to shore up existing digital networks. Participants were also encouraged to make sure that crucial hubs like hospitals and transportation centers received priority support to stay connected in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF, said: “This pandemic is doing what any big shock will do, and increasing the distance between those who have and those who do not. In addition to the devastating immediate effects of COVID-19, the secondary impacts on education, jobs, and finances will continue to impact children, and the world’s most vulnerable, disproportionately in the years to come.”
ITU Secretary-General and Commission Co-Vice Chair Houlin Zhao added, “As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates, making in-roads in the developing world and threatening all of humanity, we need to take immediate action to ensure no one is left behind. This unprecedented crisis shows that nobody is safe until we are all safe. And it shows, with no ambiguity, that we will not unleash the full potential of broadband until we are all connected.”
While an ever increasing percentage of people worldwide have broadband access, there are still many people who lack access. The industry leaders all stressed the importance of working together in spite of the disparities that exist.
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