Connectivity is not a luxury, it is a fundamental right. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this clearer than ever. Connectivity allowed people to learn, shop, bank, socialize, access healthcare and, in many cases, work from home. For roughly 3.6 billion people around the world, however, all of that was impossible because they lacked even the most basic internet access.
How much of the $15 trillion the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates the world may have lost in output due to COVID-19 could have been saved if everyone had access to the internet? What about the physical and mental health costs of being unconnected in an increasingly digital world? We must act now to bring unconnected communities online. Not just in smart cities, but in smart villages and smart townships.