September 18, 2022

The power of technology for our future

Contributed by:

Mr. Hans Vestberg

Chief Executive Officer, Verizon

This Commissioner Insight was published in the 2022 State of Broadband Report,

As a global community, we are facing some of the greatest challenges of our lifetime. In this context we have understood as never before the power that technology has for our future. Still, too many people remain unconnected. Verizon’s corporate purpose to create the networks that move the world forward has never felt so vital.

Verizon is proud to be a member of the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and to contribute to its efforts to close the digital divide and to achieve its important 2025 Broadband Advocacy Targets. As part of Verizon’s responsible business strategy, Citizen Verizon, we are working in myriad ways that demonstrate the type of action needed to achieve these targets. Our efforts to address the digital divide focus in three key areas: access, affordability, and usability. 

Far too many people lack access to connectivity and remain unconnected or under-connected. Verizon is attempting to meet this challenge in the United States through innovative programs that provide resources and support. In 2021, we made a multi-year pledge of $3 billion to uplift vulnerable communities, help close the digital divide and contribute to the achievement of the UN SDGs. 

We recognize that an important component of bringing people online is affordability. We are working with the U.S. government and across industry to put the power of technology in the hands of more families across the United States. We have participated since day one in the U.S. Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a long-term benefit to eligible low-income consumers to be able to access high-speed, high-quality internet plans. 

We are also placing priority on usability of digital services, including through investment in digital skilling and support for small businesses. We are providing 10 million youths with digital skills training, supporting 1 million small businesses with tech resources and tools and upskilling 500 thousand individuals with tech training, all by 2030. 

Solving broadband challenges requires strong partnership. We need big ideas and collective action to accelerate the development of meaningful connectivity for everyone. That’s why Verizon is leading the World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance, which aims to mobilize industry sectors to quicken the pace of digital development and accelerate the opportunity for every person to participate in the digital economy. We also participate in the UN ITU’s Partner2Connect Initiative, and continue to actively engage in the UN Broadband Commission. 

We have reached a critical juncture and it is imperative for leaders from all sectors to prioritize these issues. Together we can bring the promise enabled by the infrastructure of the 21st century – mobility, broadband and cloud – to all.  This is our moment. 

The ideas and opinions expressed in this insight are those of the authors; they do not necessarily reflect those of ITU and UNESCO or the Broadband Commission. The mention of specific companies, products or services does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by ITU or UNESCO or Broadband Commission in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.