ITU releases the report of the 7th ITU Economic Experts Roundtable focusing on the telecommunication industry in the post-COVID-19 world

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) published its report on the 7th ITU Economic Experts Roundtable which aimed at exploring the COVID-19 crisis better and taking stock of new business models and potential financing strategies to deliver universal connectivity in the post-COVID-19 world. To this aim, the report focuses on the different operational and business models (i.e. wireless and wirelines infrastructure and 5G) to bridge the digital divide. It further outlines a range of innovative financing models and instruments from traditional financing models to co-investment mechanisms. Panellists contested that ‘tackling the infrastructure-related aspects of the digital divide requires the crowding in of investment from diverse investors with different risk profiles from equity to senior debt. Those investors may be private equity, pension funds, development finance institutions, commercial banks, or corporate investors. The challenge, though, is how to attract investors to make the projects not only viable but also render the financial benefit proportionate to the risk.’