Organization of American States will promote community networks to address digital divide in rural Americas

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) through the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) and Internet Society (Isoc) signed an agreement to collaborate on the creation of at least 15 community networks to provide rural population in Latin America with access to telecommunications services by 2020. The agreement was reached in line with the Alianza TIC 2030 agenda that was signed in 2016 to bridge the digital divide, enhance digital skills and improve quality of education in the Americas.

In order to reach this goal, members of the forum discussed that the best option is to train local inhabitants to enable them to deploy and operate the community networks. This type of arrangement is already existent in countries like Mexico, however, multiple challenges are still to be faced. The best example is the need for public and private organisms to collaborate in order to drive the government to establish regulations that make the solution feasible.

The agreement comes as a great relief when considering that most of the people without access to telecommunications and broadband services in Latin America are currently living in rural areas.