ITU experts: COVID-19 makes universal digital access and co-operation essential

Key experts from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) laid out the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the digital space during a digital briefing. ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau Director, Mario Maniewicz explained how Internet traffic was multiplied to provide countries with more resources. ‘Additional spectrum has been identified for new technologies that can help provide coverage at affordable prices to underserved communities. These technologies are both satellite and terrestrial, and can cover large areas, and they promise to enable affordable broadband access in rural and remote areas’. The ITU has further directed governments to use the new spectrum to meet the acute ‘universal need’ for broadband access. Additionally, to counter the high rate of cybercrimes that accompany the crisis induced digitalisation, the ITU’s cybersecurity team developed an online repository to help countries protect their network, businesses, and users including children at risk. The ITU is further looking at how different technologies could enhance contact -tracing opportunities.