At WEF, industry veterans talk on Internet accessibility for poorer nations – Business Today

As the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution are leading to transformative advances in numerous domains, on the first day of the World Economic Forum Davos Agenda was a panel discussion on ‘Technology Cooperation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.’ 
Moderated by Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation, EDISON Alliance, the session saw leaders including Hans Vestberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Verizon Communications & Chair of the EDISON Alliance; Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises; and Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Innovation of Rwanda talk about how can technology stakeholders work together to balance innovation and responsibility to maximise the potential of emerging technologies for addressing global problems.
As stated on the World Economic Forum page, Hans Vestberg talked about how ‘connectivity is a human right’. He highlighted that with 3.6 billion people still offline today, we need to use 21st century infrastructure (mobility, broadband and cloud services) to get accessible and affordable technology and digital services for everyone. That’s why the EDISON Alliance is working to enhance digital inclusion for 1 billion people across healthcare, education, and financial services.
 Sunil Bharti Mittal argued, “Billions of people still have no Internet. And why are they not on the Internet, of course, partly because they don’t have the coverage. But many people have the coverage, but not affordability. If a country like India can provide very high quality, large dollops of data per month at $3. There’s no reason why we can’t carry this through into Africa and marginalised parts of the world where affordability is an issue.” 
As there is no other way but to serve society in a very strong digital infrastructure that needs to be provided across the entire globe, Mittal said.
Minister Paula Ingabire spoke about ‘A policy and regulatory environment that nurtures innovation’. She noted the importance of technology cooperation for governments to address common challenges in the road for recovery post-pandemic.
The panel discussion highlighted that accessibility, affordability, and application of technology will be reached not by one company or one government alone, it must be a cross-sector effort.
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