In this session, moderated by Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation, EDISON Alliance champions explored how technology stakeholders can better work together to address global issues.
The context is an intensifying need for technology cooperation. We are more dependent on technology and digital platforms than ever before, and the pandemic has only accelerated this reliance.
It is a global imperative to make technology available to all at scale and speed in a way that fosters confidence among all stakeholders.
Speakers included: Hans Vestberg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Verizon Communications & Chair of the EDISON Alliance; Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises; and Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Innovation of Rwanda. They spoke about international cooperation and why this is critical when it comes to technology for societal progress.
'Connectivity is a human right'
Hans Vestberg highlighted that with 3.6 billion people still offline today, we need to use 21st century infrastructure (mobility, broadband and cloud services) to get accessible and affordable technology and digital services for everyone.
That's why the EDISON Alliance is working to enhance digital inclusion for 1 billion people across healthcare, education, financial services.
Funding for digital infrastructure is a top priority'
Sunil Bharti Mittal stressed that many people have the coverage to be online, but not the affordability. If a country like India can provide high-quality data at a low monthly cost, the same can be done in marginalized parts of the world.
Key players in the digital ecosystem and governments need to come together to provide affordability to those who may otherwise never get connected.
A policy and regulatory environment that nurtures innovation'
Minister Paula Ingabire noted the importance of technology cooperation for governments to address common challenges in the road for recovery post-pandemic. That's why the EDISON Alliance is creating a network of like-minded countries to galvanize the partnerships and commitments made to digital inclusion to drive digital transformation.
Digital inclusion as part of a sustainable business strategy
Accessibility, affordability, and application of technology will be reached not by one company or one government alone, it must be a cross-sector effort. Regulators and governments must work with digital players to deliver a universal approach to connectivity. Transparency is also key to build trust in the digital ecosystem.
The discussion highlighted the need for agile governance and regulatory frameworks, serving society and people. It also called for adequate financial architecture to ensure we can serve everyone in the planet, along with a multistakeholder engagement framework that builds sustainable responsibility into business models.