Three-year initiative to identify connectivity gaps in 35 countries is a critical first step in connecting every school to the internet
Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and UNICEF have announced a global partnership to help map school connectivity in 35 countries by the end of 2023. Mapping the internet connectivity landscape for schools and their surrounding communities is a critical first step towards providing every child with access to digital learning opportunities.
This joint effort is part of the Giga initiative. Launched last year and led by UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Giga aims to connect every school to the internet. Ericsson is the first private sector partner to make a multimillion-dollar commitment to the initiative and does so as a Global UNICEF Partner for School Connectivity Mapping.
According to the ITU, 360 million young people currently do not have access to the internet. This results in exclusion, fewer resources to learn, and limited opportunities for the most vulnerable children and youth to fulfill their potential. Improved connectivity will increase access to information, opportunity, and choice, enabling generations of school children to take part in shaping their own futures.
“The deepening digital divide is one of the many inequalities that the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, UNICEF. “School closures, coupled with limited or non-existent opportunities for remote learning, have upended children’s education worldwide. Our partnership with Ericsson will bring us closer to giving every child and young person access to digital learning opportunities.”
In addition to funding, Ericsson will commit resources for data engineering and data science capacity to accelerate school connectivity mapping. Specifically, Ericsson will assist with the collection, validation, analysis, monitoring and visual representation of real-time school connectivity data. The data generated through the mapping will enable governments and the private sector to design and deploy digital solutions that enable learning for children and young people. Ericsson will also engage its extensive customer base to further advance the goals of the Giga initiative.