According to a news release published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the approval of a new ITU standard (ITU L.163) will pave the way for high-speed broadband services to be brought to rural communities through the use of lightweight, terabit-capable optical cables that can be deployed on the ground’s surface with minimal expense and environmental impact. According to the publication, even though radiocommunication can provide the ‘last mile’ connectivity, challenges arise when deploying in rural areas that are often many kilometres away from core networks. Optical infrastructure supported by the new standard, will therefore be indispensable in solving the challenge of providing true broadband to the otherwise inaccessible communities.
Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).