Innovative business models for expanding broadband and closing the access gaps

Innovative business models for expanding broadband and closing the access gaps

Today approximately half of the world’s population remains unconnected to the Internet and the cost of Internet access remains higher than recommended guidelines in many countries. This digital divide and the factors that create or exacerbate it are driving policymakers to expand Internet access as a critical foundation for the digital economy. Digital connectivity has also been at the forefront of the world’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic – providing means for people to communicate and share information as countries impose extreme social-distancing measures, enabling remote work by governments and businesses, and allowing citizens access to essential services such as tele health, online education, and digital financial services. This virtual knowledge exchange is intended to provide informative examples and discussion regarding innovative business models and approaches to the deployment of high-speed broadband networks. The information presented and examples highlighted are intended to help policymakers and regulators better consider how they can assess broadband project options and adopt decisions tailored to their country’s circumstances and needs. Key topics to be explored include the impact of policy on broadband expansion, spectrum and technologies for delivering Internet connectivity, and business models and financing for infrastructure development, and lessons learned. Speakers will share recommendations and observations gleaned from their experience with the various topics.

Target Audience

The target audience for this event is policymakers and sector regulators involved in the expansion and improvement of broadband Internet infrastructure and access. Given the various factors and decisions that affect broadband networks and services, this may include officials within ministries responsible for communications and infrastructure and regulators overseeing communications and spectrum, as well as within ministries responsible for finance and rural development. The course is also valuable for industry stakeholders, including state-owned communications enterprises and utilities, and World Bank Group staff who wish to gain additional tools for making policy and investment decisions that will support the achievement of their Broadband Access for All objectives.