It was great to have been invited by Aminata Amadou Garba to give the final talk in the ITU Academy’s training session on Last Mile Connectivity on 30th June. She was happy for me to be a little bit provocative, and so I returned to one of my long-standing arguments – that by using terms such as “the last mile” or the “last billion” we often denigrate the poorest and the most marginalised. If we really want to ensure that they benefit from the use of digital technologies, we should instead start thinking about them as “the first mile” because they are most important!
The session addressed seven main themes:
- The “last” mile in whose eyes?
- Parallels with the “next billion”
- and the “Digital Divide”
- Whose perspectives matter most?
- The political economy of connectivity
- The fundamental role of regulation
- Global connectivity initiatives
- Environmental implications
I’m so glad that we were able to have quite a lively discussion both during and after the presentation – a copy of which is available here for those who might be interested.