WSIS Prizes Contest 2021 Nominee

Digital Villages


Description

The reach and benefits of the internet remain limited in many developing countries due to cost, scalability, power outages and educational barriers. To help alleviate this problem, American Tower Corporation (“ATC”) is using its communications infrastructure in an innovative way by building Digital Villages near tower sites.

Digital Villages are computer-equipped learning centers that use the uninterrupted power supply and broadband connection from ATC’s tower sites to enable internet access and provide local communities with free education and training in ICTs. The goal of the Digital Villages program is increase digital literacy and create digitally empowered societies to help countries address some of the most pressing challenges, including reduction of poverty, unemployment, economic inequality, access to quality education and achieving gender equality, as aligned with the WSIS Action Lines and the Sustainable Development Goals.

As at year end 2020, ATC has established 241 Digital Villages across its international markets with over 71,000 students enrolled onto ICT training courses and more than 64,000 graduates since inception. ATC intends to expand the deployment of Digital Villages in other markets where ATC owns tower infrastructure.

The following video provides a visual overview of the Digital Village project: https://vimeo.com/464228795/77e56655c7

Project website

https://www.americantower.com/corporate-responsibility/society.html


Action lines related to this project
  • AL C2. Information and communication infrastructure
  • AL C3. Access to information and knowledge
  • AL C4. Capacity building
  • AL C7. E-business
  • AL C7. E-learning
  • AL C7. E-employment
  • AL C11. International and regional cooperation 2021
Sustainable development goals related to this project
  • Goal 4: Quality education
  • Goal 5: Gender equality
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals

Coverage
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Uganda

Status

Ongoing

Start date

2016

End date

Not set


Target beneficiary group(s)
  • Youth
  • Women
  • Indigenous and nomadic peoples
  • The poor
  • Remote and rural communities

Replicability

ATC’s Digital Villages are easily replicable and highly scalable. ATC owns around 185,000 communication sites across the globe, three quarters of which are located across India, Africa and Latin America. Digital Villages are currently deployed in India, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Mexico. ATC intends to expand the Digital Villages project in other markets where ATC owns tower infrastructure.


Sustainability

Digital Villages have a small ecological footprint which will continue to decrease as ATC continues to reduce its Scope 1 fossil fuels emissions and increase the use of energy-efficient technologies and site-based green energy solutions, such as solar photovoltaic power generation. ATC has committed to reduce its fossil fuel consumption and diesel-related greenhouse gas emissions in Africa and India by more than 60% by 2027. As at year end 2019, ATC had reduced its diesel fuel consumption used to power tenants’ equipment by more than two million liters per month - the equivalent of removing 13,000 cars from the road or preserving 24,000 acres of forest each year - and invested more than USD 100 million in green energy solutions, such as advanced batteries, social installations, and other innovative technologies.


WSIS values promotion

ATC’s Digital Villages further the objectives highlighted in WSIS Action Lines C2, C3, C4 and C7 and C11: C2. (Information and communications infrastructure): Digital Villages innovatively utilize the uninterrupted power supply and broadband connection from ATC’s tower sites to enable internet access and provide local communities with free education and training in ICTs as well as other services. This in turn helps countries address some of their most pressing challenges, including reduction of poverty, unemployment, economic inequality, access to quality education and achieving gender equality. C3. (Access to information and knowledge): By connecting the unconnected and enabling access to quality education, Digital Villages facilitate access to the information and knowledge required to secure decent work and economic growth. C4. (Capacity building): Digital Villages enable access to quality education, which in turn contributes to increasing digital literacy, competitiveness, and the prospects of securing decent work. C7. (ICT applications: benefits in all aspects of life): Digital Villages can be used for the delivery of a large suite of ICT applications, including e-government services, remote learning, healthcare and banking. C11. (International and regional cooperation): Digital Villages are deployed in collaboration with a wide range of domestic and international partners from the public, private and not-for-profit sector. Examples include the Uganda Communications Commission, IBM, NIIT Foundation and Save the Children.


Entity name

American Tower Corporation (ATC)

Entity country—type

United States of America Private Sector

Entity website

https://www.americantower.com/