Industry leaders are set to be joining forces at this year’s Broadband World Forum to address how to improve their network reach and reliability on a global and local level.
Collaborations between operators, network owners and local governments to “connect the unconnected” are encouraged in order to meet growing pressure to extend internet access to remote and rural areas, as well as lower-income segments.
In a bid to get more people online, the UK government has been exploring options to extend superfast broadband coverage beyond 95% by 2017 and is currently testing options to extend coverage to some of the hardest to reach areas. The plan is not without its critics though, with rural broadband provider Gigaclear warning that some people will still be left behind.
Ben Agnew, Events Director, Broadband World Forum said: “What’s clear from the government’s Superfast Broadband Programme is that internet connectivity is not just a developing nation issue. People in our own highly developed country are still unable to access the internet. The latest figures from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) show that three million homes and businesses now have access to superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps – two years before the 95% coverage deadline – yet that’s only 78% of the UK. There is clearly still a way to go, which is why we are particularly excited about Broadband World Forum this October. The show will bring the latest initiatives for delivering accessible, reliable and affordable coverage for all as well as empower companies to explore further ideas and unlock the revenue potential of the unconnected.”
The hot topic has also led to Broadband World Forum launching the new Access Innovation Zone, which will bring stimulating presentations and debates on the latest fixed access technologies and strategies designed to get everyone online. Sessions not to be missed include ‘Rural Broadband & Reaching 100% Connectivity’ and ‘Making the Internet Affordable for All’. The interactive discussions will examine the initiatives that can help local governments achieve their goals for connectivity, and will also explore the priorities and challenges behind affordable internet for countries worldwide.
Attendees inspired by the Access Innovation Zone can also visit the Connecting the Unconnected conference session on Thursday 22nd October. Taking place in the Connected World track, located next to the Access Innovation Zone, strategies and case studies will be presented from a range of operators and service providers across developing and developed nations including PTK, Noor Group, BT, EE, and Grameenphone.