The telecommunication industry in the post-COVID-19 world - Report of the 7th ITU Economic Experts Roundtable
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated difficult economic conditions driving the digital divide, as economic contraction, slower growth and rising unemployment have resulted in significant economic challenges across digital service users. Furthermore, the pandemic has widened the divide in the availability and quality of connectivity between markets and, just as significantly, within individual markets (between urban and rural settings, primary versus secondary cities). This report explores the different operational and business models that can facilitate the deployment of infrastructure among unserved populations and details the financing strategies and instruments to be considered and the expected role of development finance institutions, institutional investors, private equity, public markets and the public sector in financing required ICT infrastructure. It also outlines potential obstacles to addressing the connectivity challenges of deploying innovative infrastructure. It is the result of the 7thITU Economic Experts Roundtable convened by ITU on 4 February 2021 in order to understand the COVID-19 pandemic situation better and take stock of new business models and potential financing strategies to deliver universal connectivity in the post-COVID-19 world.