We think we live in a digital-first world — but there's no "digital" at all for 37% of the global population. That's a big problem in today's economy, where you'll miss out on many opportunities for advancement if you're not connected. The digital divide is thus widening the equality gap.

Digital Equity

As the world emerges from Covid-19, how can digital access and inclusive approaches to education and skilling connect global citizens to the next billion jobs?

Want Africa to grow? Get people and businesses online: Africa expert

There's a big opportunity for African countries to take advantage of the pandemic — if they can get online. "Greater internet connectivity can accelerate growth in tremendous ways," says Eurasia Group's top Africa analyst Amaka Anku. One of them would be formalizing the informal sector, which is very large and hard to tax: "It's much easier if people are paying using digital payments," she explains, but governments also need to do their part by cutting red tape to encourage investment.

How can we bridge the "digital Grand Canyon"?

The UN likes to say that having half the world's population offline is like a "digital Grand Canyon" of exclusion. So, how can we bridge it? The International Communications Union's Doreen Bogdan-Martin says that the only way is to get all concerned parties — the UN, governments, international institutions, the private sector, and civil society — to work together. "No one can do this alone. We need all hands on deck."

Make internet affordable, but not free for all

Free internet for everyone sounds great, but what's really important is for it to be accessible, says Vickie Robinson, head of Microsoft's Airband Initiative to expand broadband access throughout the developing world. The problem, she explains, is that it costs money to build and maintain networks, so no costs for end users could have unintended consequences.

We'll never fix America's internet without measuring access properly, says FCC chair

Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chair of the US Federal Communications Commission, says mapping the real state of America's broadband access is flawed because a single subscriber in a rural area doesn't mean everyone is online. "You don't have to be a data maven to understand that that likely overstates service," she notes, and underscores the need to develop more accurate systems. "We're never going to manage the problems we don't measure."

Should internet be free for everyone? A Global Stage debate

Providing more than three billion people with affordable, reliable internet access sounds like a no-brainer, but the devil is in the details. Who'll pay for it and how do we measure success? Several experts weighed in during a Global Stage virtual conversation hosted by GZERO Media in partnership with Microsoft during the 76th UN General Assembly.

Panel: Why access to broadband & digital skills is critical

On October 7th, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — presented a live panel discussion, "Digital Inclusion: Connectivity and Skills for the Next Billion Jobs," about the acceleration of digitalization, the changing workforce, and the need for digital access for all.

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