Integra is implementing a leading edge technical assistance program designed to radically expand the availability of affordable broadband connections in rural areas worldwide. In partnership with USAID’s Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) team, our approach has been to forge public-private partnerships that direct large sums of money toward creating a “broadband ecosystem” – a combination of infrastructure, service availability, and user capacity that ignites broadband growth. Our $3.25 million in contract spending has leveraged $493 million in public and private sector spending. Over the next 5 years, our clients will invest a further $13 billion in broadband network development and services. Some examples of our work and the resulting expenditures include the following:
- In Colombia, we worked with the social telecommunications program Compartel to develop a follow on program to the successful fiber-optic backbone construction carried out under Vive Digital. The result was a $290 million public and private effort to focus on last mile connectivity to villages, schools, and government facilities.
- For Nigeria, in collaboration with the Universal Service Provision Fund, we assisted with the development of the Fund’s Strategic Management Plan. In the early days of implementing the Plan, the Fund has tendered over $35 million for rural fiber optic networks and green powered cell phone base stations for unserved regions.
- In Kenya, Integra supported the Communications Authority to lead a multi-stakeholder process to develop a National Broadband Strategy (NBS). Currently being implemented by the country’s new ICT Authority, the NBS calls for investments in infrastructure (fiber optic cable backbone, high speed wireless solutions and the like) totaling $2,170,200,000.
- In Indonesia, we supported the planning ministry, BAPPENAS, to create a whole-of-government Indonesia Broadband Plan. The Plan is designed to bring affordable broadband connectivity to remote regions of this archipelago of 17,500 islands. To take effect this fall with a Presidential directive, the Plan will deliver eHealth, eEducation, eGovernment, and other services to currently unserved populations. Over the next 5 years, the plan calls for investments of more than $11 billion. The plan will connect up to 140,000 schools and 5,000 health clinics.
The beneficiaries of this spending are citizens in rural areas that private companies have left behind in their competitive quest to provide the next generation of high-speed technology to higher income consumers. Training citizens to use broadband, and providing them the opportunity to do so, will make a large impact on their livelihoods. Broadband increases the opportunity to find education, information, work, buyers or sellers for products, and to stay in touch with family overseas. Through this work, GBI has brought affordable broadband to approximately 3 million people. Several million more will be added as the plans are implemented and contracted funding is spent.