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Broadband Technology: Engine for Economic Growth & Human Empowerment.

by Employee ‎07-09-2010 10:19 AM - edited ‎07-28-2010 12:51 PM

(This post also can be found on our policy blog)


My colleagues, Jackie Ruff, Leslie Martinkovics and I,  with an able assist from Lindsay McQuaid of the Verizon Foundation, have just returned from Uganda where Verizon co-sponsored with the Internet Society (ISOC), the Uganda Communications Commission and the Uganda Martyrs University, a highly successful Symposium on ICT for Higher Education in East Africa .  (My opening remarks are attached below.)  Two hundred of the most committed University administrators and professors, academic technologists, government Ministers, regulators, and ICT providers from five  countries in the region gathered for an intense two day dialogue on how to equip East African Universities with the tools of the Internet Age, in particular, ubiquitous high speed broadband connectivity. The discussions were focused, high level and charged with a sense of urgency around deployment of high speed internet access across East Africa, e-readiness of the over 70 institutions of higher education in the region and the need for the creation and availability of uniquely African content. The leaders of the academic, political and technical communities were in agreement on the promise of full connectivity and on the urgent need to reach across the planet to exchange the rich treasure trove of knowledge and culture that Africa can offer to the world and that the world can bring to Africa.


Very specific needs were articulated and concrete strategies discussed. The Minister for IT for Kenya, Samuel Poghisio , challenged the assembly to make real progress by the time of a similar meeting planned for Nairobi in March 2011.  The papers and next steps discussion will be posted on the Symposium site and participants and anyone who wishes to join the dialogue will be encouraged to advance the strategy for full connectivity.


In listening to the Ministers of Education, Trade and ICT who were focused like a laser on economic development, I was struck by the direct link between establishing and implementing universal education policy, deploying ubiquitous telecommunications infrastructure and embedded information technologies and having stable, thriving communities now and for the future. This link was not a matter of theory, but a matter of fact. In particular, as the demand for higher education has exploded among the families and students of East Africa, the need for connection to the world-wide academic community has become an imperative in order for the African nations to compete with their global counterparts.


The Symposium was enhanced, in this regard, by keynote luncheon remarks from the U.S. Undersecretary of State Judith McHale who was in the region  for several events including  meetings at the female campus of the Islamic University in Uganda  just outside Kampala where the discussion centered on technology. She spoke to the issue of global competiveness, highlighting especially the huge potential in Africa, especially when each East African country takes ownership of the initiative, and uses their knowledge of what the local community needs to define their path to connectivity.


Phillip Clay, the Chancellor of MIT was riveting in describing and advocating for the strong obligation that must be shouldered by institutions of higher learning in creating the values, character and qualities of a thriving society and the irrefutable requirement that higher institutions be connected one with the other around the globe.  (See Chancellor Clay's bio attached below.)


For Verizon, this meeting again confirmed for us that NETWORKS are universally powerful.  Our focus on the link between high speed broadband technologies and education here in the U.S. and abroad emanates from our belief that broadband technologies can be and are the engine for economic growth and human empowerment. We were privileged to support our Uganda partners in bringing together the best thinkers and doers from academia, the ICT industry, the government and the tech community to create what we hope will be an ongoing network of stakeholders who will not let go of this effort.


See below some pictures of the meeting and, because I would hope everyone can know of the beauty of Uganda, a few shots of Kampala, Ugandan Martyrs University, Lake Victoria and the River Nile.


East Africa Collage


Starting from top left and moving clockwise:  A beautiful view of Lake Victoria; Students using the library and computer lab facilities at Martyrs University; Martyrs University Vice Chancellor Dr. Charles Olweny leading us on a campus tour; Mary Stewart Hall at Makerere University where I stayed as a visiting student in 1972; Verizon’s Jackie Ruff (l) and Leslie Martinkovics (second from right) visit with African colleagues at the symposium closing reception; Visiting the source of the Nile; (center photo, l to r) Honorable Gaudentia M. Kabaka, Tanzania Deputy Minister of Education; Honorable Samuel Poghisio, Kenya Minister for Information and Communications; Honorable Geraldine Namirembe Bitamizire, Uganda Minister of Education and Sports.

by beanie50
on ‎07-11-2010 03:41 PM

I ordered an Android Incredible on June 15th as an early 50th birthday present to myself. I was told they were on back-order until July 13th, so I was pretty bummed out that my first "media" phone whould not be here in time for my birthday. I've had no correspondance from Verizon; I have called a few times and have been told that there may be an additional delay of another 10 days added onto the backorder. I've heard a lot of rumors about the difficulties that you, along with many other wireless companies, are having in obtaining the screens. All I am asking is that someone give me the truth about when I can expect to receive my phone. If the Droid X is being released on the 15th and it has the same screen, will you not have the same issue? If not, can I be at a Verizon store when they open on the 15th and actually expect to come home with a new phone?

by Employee Emeritus
on ‎07-12-2010 04:38 PM

To Beanie50:


If you have not received your Incredible, could you please send me an e-mail directly at with additional information?  If the Incredible is to replace a phone on an existing Verizon account, please provide me with the phone number on that account as well as the order number for your new phone. 


If you are placing an order for a new Verizon account, please send me an e-mail with your name and the order number so we can track the order and get a response for you.


Thank you,


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