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1.75bn citizens in the world’s eight richest countries remain unconnected

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 A new study by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) reveals a staggering 1.75bn citizens in the world’s eight richest countries (by GDP) remain unconnected – with 34% residing in major urban centers. The report, launched today, highlights that the digital divide remains a global problem, despite the fact, that driving universal connectivity is a common priority for all countries.

This study undertaken by IHS Markit to mark World Wi-Fi Day, explores the levels of urban and rural connectivity across eight major countries: Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK and the USA. It also uncovers the challenges faced and the initiatives being implemented by five of the world’s major cities: Delhi, London, Moscow, New York and Sao Paulo.

Key findings from the report reveal:

  • Delhi and Sao Paulo have the largest number of unconnected citizens. 29% (5.331 million) of the population of Delhi are unconnected, 36% in Sao Paolo, (4.349 million) are unconnected
  • London is the most connected city, with just 7% of citizens unconnected (625,336)
  • 19% of people in New York City are unconnected (1.600 million), while 10% of people in Moscow are unconnected (1.231 million)

Internet adoption has been faster in cities than in rural areas, however urban areas still face significant challenges to expanding internet users. These challenges include limited spending power, lack of availability of technology, lack of awareness of benefits gained from using the internet, and also, IT literacy levels.
In both developing and mature markets, availability of affordable internet services is still an obstacle to connectivity. Even among those countries with higher average salaries, the existence of economic and social divides significantly shapes the issue of the digital divide.

  • In New York, one of the greatest barriers to connectivity is the quality and affordability of internet connections
  • For Londoners, IT skills and an understanding of the benefits provided by being connected are, along with spending power, key challenges to internet adoption
  • Moscow has faced specific challenges related to infrastructure, developing an integrated approach to promoting internet adoption, and ensuring a high standard and quality of internet services.

The report also highlights the many benefits and opportunities unconnected individuals miss out, from generating savings to personal development as a result of not having access to information and education services. What’s more, digital inclusion is an engine for economic growth for cities, nations, and businesses of all sizes as it helps to attract investment, start new companies and stimulate innovation.
“Connectivity is now an essential commodity, much in the same category as power and water. Yet many people in some of the world’s major cities are still without an internet connection,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA. “Wi-Fi is playing an instrumental role in helping cities bring wider and more affordable connectivity to its citizens. The WBA is committed to helping cities bridge the digital divide through initiatives like World Wi-Fi Day and our Connected City Advisory Board, and see Wi-Fi as key to bringing connectivity to everyone, everywhere.”
“The issue of the urban unconnected is of critical importance the economies and societies around the world. We call on Governments around the world to re-double their focus on connecting the urban unconnected. It’s vital that internet access becomes recognized as a human right, and that all stakeholders involved in the provision of broadband work together to make this happen,” added Shenwai.
World Wi-Fi Day was launched by the WBA in 2016 to help accelerate the deployment of affordable connectivity globally. The initiative encourages cities and government bodies, as well as operators, service providers, technology vendors and internet giants, to come together to deliver connectivity to everyone, everywhere.
For more information on World Wi-Fi Day, please visit worldwifiday.com. The full white paper, entitled ‘The Urban Unconnected’, is available to download here.

About the Wireless Broadband Alliance
Founded in 2003, the mission of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is to accelerate global leadership for enabling of wireless services that are seamless, secure and interoperable. Building on our heritage of Next Generation Hotspot (NGH) and carrier Wi-Fi, WBA will continue to drive and support the adoption of Next Generation Wireless services across the entire public Wi-Fi ecosystem, including IoT, Converged Services, Smart Cities, 5G, etc. Today, membership includes major fixed operators such as BT, Comcast and Charter Communications; seven of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue) and leading technology companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Huawei Technologies, Google and Intel.
The WBA Board includes AT&T, Boingo Wireless, BT, China Telecom, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Intel, KT Corporation, Liberty Global, NTT DOCOMO, Orange and Ruckus Wireless. For a complete list of current WBA members, please click here.

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Source: Wireless Boadband Alliance

Industry body defines ‘carrier Wi-Fi’; seeks closer alignment with operators

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The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) unveiled what it called a “comprehensive definition” of carrier Wi-Fi, with the aim of “closer alignment” with mobile operators.

Wi-Fi, increasingly used for cellular offload and delivering new services, is an important part of the “mobile experience”, says the alliance.

With that in mind, WBA has identified what it sees as “carrier Wi-Fi” requirements to provide a consistent user experience with “fully integrated end-to-end network capabilities” and “advanced network management”.

The alliance said it brought together nearly 20 of the world’s largest operators and vendors to participate in defining the carrier Wi-Fi vision.

Among those giving input were Accuris Networks, AT&T, BSG Wireless, BSkyB, BT, CableLabs, China Mobile, Cisco, Comcast, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel Corporation, NTT Docomo, Orange, Qualcomm, Ruckus Wireless, SK Telecom, Time Warner Cable and Towerstream.

WBA has also started initial consultations with numerous industry bodies, including the 3GPP, Broadband Forum, GSMA, NGMN and the Wi-Fi Alliance.

“By defining Carrier Wi-Fi, the industry can now work together to put the building blocks in place to deliver advanced Wi-Fi networks,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA. “This work will help ensure that consumers connecting to a carrier Wi-Fi network will be exposed to the best user experience possible, regardless of time or location.”

“Achieving a common vision for the future of Carrier Wi-Fi and what needs to be put in place to make it a reality is imperative, and we are delighted to be involved in such an important initiative,” added Philippe Lucas, Orange SVP (standardisation & ecosystems development), who led this initiative together with Ruckus Wireless.

“These guidelines encompass input from across the Wi-Fi ecosystem and we are confident that we have addressed the key issues and laid the groundwork for the deployment of these networks. This will secure Wi-Fi’s reputation as one of the most convenient and accessible connectivity options for the end user.”

Source: Ken Wieland Mobile World Daily