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DEC. 17, 2020

Discussion paper addresses ways to reduce internet usage gap in government services, telehealth, e-learning, e-financial services and working from home

WASHINGTON , DC, USA, December 17, 2020 Geeks Without Frontiers (GEEKS), a non-profit organization with the goal of bringing the benefits of internet connectivity to unserved populations, announced that it provided a discussion paper on ways to reduce the internet usage gap in context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The report addresses best practices and guidance on eliminating last mile obstacles to accessing government services, telehealth, e-learning, e-financial services and the ability to work from home.

“It has been an honor to conduct this research and analysis for the ITU,” said David Hartshorn, Chief Executive Officer of Geeks Without Frontiers. “We are committed to providing thought leadership for connectivity-based solutions and plan to build on this effort through outreach to governments and industry stakeholders interested in leveraging the last mile connectivity best practices identified in the report.”

The discussion paper was written as a contribution to ITU’s REG4COVID✎ EditSign initiative, a place where ICT regulators, policy makers and other interested stakeholders can share information and view what initiatives and measures have been introduced around the world.

“During the coronavirus pandemic, for many people being connected to the internet has been the only way to work from home and/or keep businesses open,” said Travis Heneveld, GEEKS’ Director of Connectivity Solutions, who authored the report. “The health crisis has shown how universal connectivity acts as a lifeline for vital services. It also brings to light the vast disparity in access to connectivity.”

“While the number of internet users has increased four-fold since 2005, now reaching over half of the world’s population, more than 45 percent of the world’s population still lacks internet access, and only 14.1 percent have an in-home internet subscription,” Mr. Heneveld added.

The report, which was submitted to the ITU in late November, recommends new technology pilots, infrastructure capacity sharing, and broadband spectrum allocation and reallocation. It also considers mixed financial models, new forms of stakeholder collaboration, and partnerships with new digital service providers. The GEEKS paper suggests that new initiatives are more likely to succeed if they look outside traditional models to ensure that core, backhaul and access networks incentivize commercial investment and interests while at the same time protecting and serving customers.

Other recent examples of GEEKS emergency management work includes Co-Chairing a drafting team for a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report on Broadband Best Practices for COVID; Co-authoring a “Broadband for Disaster Response” report for the FCC; an initiative for capacity building on a national emergency response plan for Afghanistan; and support for connectivity solutions for the US government. These initiatives are an extension of Geeks’ strategic vision as set out in “Technology for a Resilient World” which can be viewed here: TRW✎ EditSign:✎ EditSign

Read the Last Mile Connectivity in the Context of COVID-19, REG4COVID Discussion Paper✎ EditSign

About Geeks Without Frontiers

Geeks Without Frontiers is a technology-neutral platform for global impact. An award-winning non-profit, Geeks’ mission is to promote technology for a resilient world including bringing the benefits of broadband connectivity – disaster preparedness, health, education, poverty reduction, gender equality and the other United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) – to the estimated 3.5 billion people who remain unconnected.

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