Rural areas of countries continue to be sparsely covered and are not considered as a viable business case by telecommunication operators. Recent growth of teledensity in urban areas, fuelled by mobile technology, has meant that the digital gap between rural and urban areas has widened.
Rural populations will need to be provided with mobile telephony and wireless broadband access, by connecting remote areas to the broadband core networks. Choosing efficient, cost-effective and fast-deployment technologies – whether wired or wireless networks – will improve accessibility.
The key challenges for the provision of telecommunication services in rural areas are driven by both technological and economic considerations. Setting up backhaul connectivity remains a high-cost exercise. Erratic power supply or complete lack of energy sources is a major barrier, and photovoltaic power supply is increasingly becoming a viable alternative. The requirement to maintain sufficient backup systems raises operational costs substantially.
This programme will contribute to the goal of digital inclusion, by providing assistance for the development of connectivity in rural and remote areas using suitable technologies for access, backhaul and sources of power supply.