Integra is the sole holder of USAID’s Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) IQC, a five-year program designed to support the Agency’s ICT team in expanding access to telecommunications and supporting the creation and use of ICT applications and services for development.
USAID has long acknowledged the social and economic benefits of information and communication technologies, and for many years has included ICT in its project portfolio. An early flagship ICT program, the Leland Initiative, brought the Internet to much of Africa between 1996 and 2000. A follow-on program, the Last Mile Initiative (LMI), sought to expand access to communications for the rural poor of developing countries. Launched in 2004, it focused on the construction of community centers that could either act as cyber-cafes or serve as way stations for the transmission of wireless voice or wifi signals. Since the launch of LMI, however, the telecommunications landscape has changed dramatically. Digital convergence has accelerated, and it has become apparent that mobile devices, not computers, will be the primary medium through which the poor access and make use of the Internet. Further, the proliferation of cloud-based services for development, accessible through mobile phone applications, has altered the possibilities for ICT4D service delivery in exciting ways. The Global Broadband and Innovations Program was created in consideration of these developments and is the way forward for USAID’s Digital Development Strategy.
Integra’s scope of work under GBI includes:
- Support to USAID Missions and Bureaus on programmatic use of ICTs
- Legal, regulatory, and competitiveness consulting
- Support to Universal Service initiatives
- Developing new models of rural edge connectivity
- Technical assistance on national ICT and broadband planning
- Conducting national ICT assessments
- Facilitating demand for ICTs in the developing world