Skip to Main Navigation

Broadband Infrastructure, Access and Use

Technician with a laptop checking server in a data center

© Shutterstock


Digital infrastructure is foundational to promoting universal access to inclusive, affordable, safe, and resilient internet access that spurs growth, job creation and services and products for people and businesses.  Yet, the digital divide remains stark: nearly 3 billion people were unconnected to the internet globally in 2023. The World Bank is working with countries and partners to promote effective telecommunications markets, expand broadband internet coverage, and increase access, productive use, and inclusion.

Promoting Effective Telecommunications Markets

The World Bank works with governments on policy and regulation for open and competitive telecommunications markets. This includes support for policies that reduce barriers to market entry, promote competition, and create an enabling environment for private investment, with the aim to enhance service quality, coverage and affordability.  The World Bank supports capacity and institution building of digital ministries and telecoms regulators and adoption of best practices suited to local context across key areas including spectrum management, licensing, taxation, and infrastructure sharing.

Expanding Broadband Coverage

The World Bank supports countries to invest in broadband infrastructure to expand coverage, including in rural and remote communities and to connect public institutions, administrative offices and services hubs to the internet. This also includes promoting innovative approaches to boost the economic viability of broadband investments and enable private investment, including gap financing and risk mitigation instruments, public-private partnerships, and infrastructure sharing.

Increasing Access, Use, and Inclusion

Availability of internet services is not enough – people need to be able to afford it and have the knowledge to be able to use it safely and productively. This is a particular challenge for already disadvantages groups including low-income individuals and households, women, the disabled and the elderly. The World Bank supports reforms, innovations and programs to expand inclusive and productive digital access and use, including tackling gender-specific social barriers, advancing digital literacy, facilitating public internet access, and improving affordability of digital services and devices for all.