ITU Blog: New ITU standard can help bring broadband to rural communities
Connecting the unconnected is often described as an unprofitable exercise. My view is quite different. The Information Society cannot be truly global, a true digital reflection of humanity’s knowledge, without connecting all the world’s people. Our profit motive? Preventing social loss and inequality.
Broadband has the potential to bring rural communities within reach of education, healthcare, financial services and new opportunities to do business and improve their quality of life. But advanced countries also have a great deal to learn from distant cultures, which have preserved values, traditions and knowledge now forgotten by many modern societies.
Connecting the unconnected is not a transfer of knowledge and opportunity from developed to developing countries; it is a reciprocal exchange of knowledge, one that benefits us all.
Cost-effective implementation takes priority
ITU’s international standards reflect the state of the art in information and communication technology (ICT). Most ITU standards aim to provide common platforms for growth and innovation in emerging fields of ICT. Adapting mature technologies to new applications is a path less travelled in technical standardization, but there is no doubt that this approach could yield standards of great value to sustainable development.
This is the approach we took in the development of a new ITU standard to bring broadband to rural communities, Recommendation ITU-T L.1700 “Requirements and framework for low-cost sustainable telecommunications infrastructure for rural communications in developing countries”. The standard builds on established technologies to identify the founding principles for low-cost, sustainable broadband backhaul infrastructure, with a special focus on rural communications in developing countries.