“Broadband usage has exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as life has increasingly migrated online, the contrast between the digital haves and have-nots is even more blatant. This is particularly true for education. With physical classrooms closed, many students have been unable to join virtual classrooms. Some learners have missed an entire year of schooling,” he said.
“At the same time, as children spend more time online, we must redouble efforts to ensure they are kept safe. That is why the Broadband Commission’s Covid-19 Agenda for Action focuses on three points: Resilient connectivity, affordable access, and online safety,” added Kagame.
Despite unprecedented effects caused by the pandemic, the President observed that the situation is promising considering the fact the world has started rolling out vaccines.
“With the deployment of vaccines in many countries, the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is in sight. But the road is still long, particularly in developing economies. Now is the time to forge new partnerships for universal broadband and scale up the investments required to ensure digital equity,” he said.
The meeting was also attended by the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Audrey Azoulay; Houlin Zhao, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and Carlos Slim Helu, the CEO of Telemax.
This year’s meeting revolved around the melding of network and computing services that is clearly demonstrated by the increasing softwarization of the network services in the core and the access networks, the rise of computing in the network and the growth of cognition in networking for management and control as well as for value added services at the edge and in the data center.
The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development (until 2015: Digital Development) was established in May 2010 as a joint initiative by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote Internet access, in particular, broadband networks in order to help achieve United Nations development goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (until 2015).
The Commission was renamed the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development, following the adoption of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015.