ITU announces $9 billion connectivity funding commitments

ITU announces $9 billion connectivity funding commitments

ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin has announced over US$9 billion in investment commitments from mobile operator groups to extend global connectivity. The announcement was made yesterday at MWC 2024.

The new industry commitments raise to over US$46 billion the total current value of planned investment in infrastructure, services and support to ITU's Partner2Connect Digital Coalition

Partner2Connect was launched by ITU in September 2021 to engage all stakeholders to mobilise and announce new resources, partnerships and commitments for universal and meaningful connectivity globally.

The commitments announced at MWC include US$6 billion from technology group e& (Etisalat and) between 2024 and 2026 for accessible and affordable network connectivity and digital services across countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

There’s also a commitment of over US$1.4 billion from China Telecom to roll out fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), providing high-quality information and communication services to over 80 million people in remote administrative villages across China.

US$1.1 billion comes from Qatar-based multinational telecommunications company Ooredoo for connectivity in developing markets ranging from North Africa to the Indian Ocean.

In addition US$600 million will come from multinational telecommunication services company Veon for building the infrastructure of Ukraine, in order to aid the provision of connectivity and digital services essential to the reconstruction of the country.

According to data from ITU, 2.6 billion people remain offline worldwide. ITU has called for US$100 billion in overall investments by 2026 to provide the expertise and resources required to extend universal, meaningful connectivity and sustainable digital transformation to every corner of the globe. 

In addition to infrastructure, Partner2Connect commitments can support other critical needs including building digital skills and increasing digital inclusion.

The new commitments from e&, China Telecom, Ooredoo and VEON are expected to be implemented over the next two to five years.

Alongside the new commitments, the UN Digital Agency also announced that it now has over 1,000 industry, academia and organisational members in addition to its 193 Member States. This milestone marks the largest, most diverse membership in the agency's history. 

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