Digital divides need to be narrowed, say experts

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Digital divides need to be narrowed, say experts

YANG ZHENG Digital divides need to be narrowed further with partnerships from multiple stakeholders so that digital technologies can benefit more people around the world, senior officials and industry experts said on Wednesday.

The International Telecommunication Union Deputy Secretary-General Malcolm Johnson said that 2.7 billion people are still not connected to the internet, despite steady progress in coverage terms, with 95 percent of the world's population currently within range of a mobile broadband network.

In rural areas, the share of internet users is twice as high as in urban areas. In high income countries, the level of internet use is 91 percent, compared to 22 percent in low income countries.

It is clear that connectivity alone is not enough. Johnson said at the 2022 Sustainability Forum Connectivity Innovate for Impact in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, that content must be affordable, content must be relevant and users must have the skills to make the best use of it.

He said that digital technologies are needed more than ever to shape peaceful, sustainable societies and economies, and that there is the importance of cooperation, cooperation and coordination.

Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China, said digital innovation can help accelerate sustainable development and build a better future, but warned that there's an increasing likelihood that those with limited access to various technologies will be left behind in the development process.

He called for multi-stakeholder partnerships of policymakers, the private sector, academia and civil society to address the sobering reality of a digital divide that excludes a third of the global population.

He said that our dynamic world needs improved digital cooperation to capitalize on the transformational potential of technology to create new jobs, increase financial inclusion, close the gender gap, and redesign our world to be more prosperous and inclusive. Now is the time to act. The managing director of IDC China, Kitty Fok, made two predictions about how the future of connectivity will be - over the short to medium and long term.

By 2023, 40 percent of enterprises will benefit from optimized operational efficiency and security, and reduce network costs by leveraging SD-WAN and security for cloud-managed networking and security, Fok said.

By 2027, 80 percent of the Global 2000 enterprises will need LEO satellites to cover the gap in coverage for remote, rural areas and those that don't have reliable international service, she said.