5 ways to protect critical digital connectivity during COVID-19

COVID-19 has led to increased demand for internet connectivity.

Yet only 53% of the world is connected to the Internet.

Here are five ways governments can ensure connectivity in partnership with companies, including promoting network resilience and ensuring access to and affordability of digital services.

COVID-19 has dealt a shock to our world. Large swathes of the global population are living under some restrictions and enforced distancing. We are learning to live differently – to learn, socialize, shop, worship and collaborate differently. And we are doing all of this online.

The role of digital connectivity in our lives has grown over recent years, but never have we been so acutely aware of how critically we depend on it. From getting the latest information and health guidance, to supporting health services, adapting supply chains and sourcing equipment from across the globe – we depend on the ability to connect across distance.

However, we are also learning that we cannot take this connectivity for granted. Critical challenges require immediate action to ensure operational continuity and to ensure availability to the people who need it as the COVID19 wave continues across the globe.

The increased demands on our global networks have been dramatic. The use of both video-calling and streamed entertainment services have surged – Zoom has reported a 20-times growth in daily participants. Voice calls in some countries have tripled, and the use of communications apps have doubled.

The sudden shift to everyone living their lives online has led to unprecedented congestion and strain on critical ICT infrastructure. We also see challenges emerging with access and affordability across many countries.

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