Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can drive social and economic progress while helping to reduce the environmental impacts of many industries and human activities. Bringing broadband connections to remote or poor areas can create new opportunities, while advanced applications such as cloud technology, machine-to-machine connections and social media can enable and transform new services.
While connectivity is beneficial, we promote “useful connectivity”, which provides a greater stimulus. We define “useful connectivity” as the bundle of ICT hardware and complementary software, skills and informed use that realizes the full potential of ICT to drive social and economic growth and sustainable development.
There are many aspects of ICT deployment which determine the extent to which people use the infrastructure to unlock and maximize its benefits. The first requirement for “useful connectivity” is access to high performance, high capacity broadband networks, whether fixed, mobile or both. Coverage and access should be widely available and affordable. End users must also be aware, able and motivated to use network services, which should be easy to use, secure, reliable and always available.
A favorable regulatory and fiscal framework, including the availability of spectrum for mobile broadband services, will enable service providers to offer cost-effective broadband services and promote the expansion of ICT infrastructure and adoption of services.
We developed the Connectivity Scorecard to promote these messages and demonstrate the progress countries are making. We have presented the Connectivity Scorecard concept and results at meetings with governments, industry groups, economic experts and our customers around the world, raising awareness of the importance of the many factors contributing to “useful connectivity”.