Digital Communities

The Digital Communities program leverages the power of partnerships to help us advance our commitment to bridge the digital divide.

Digital Communities

Overview

According to data from the International Telecommunication Union, 2.6 billion people are offline. The constraints on widespread adoption persist in developing nations, stemming from geographic barriers, prohibitive expenses associated with acquiring devices and services, as well as lack of digital proficiency among the population.



As a global, digital infrastructure company, our operations are critical to the communities where we work and investing in those communities is core to our business. We recognize that access and adoption of broadband internet can improve quality of life and more fundamentally can lead to opportunities for education and career development as well as improve access to healthcare and financial support services.



What are Digital Communities?

Digital Communities are digitally connected spaces equipped with technology, providing instructor-led or self-guided digital literacy and youth education instruction, financial literacy and career skilling, or healthcare services with an aim to improve quality of life in the communities where we operate.

Our Mission

To support underserved communities across the globe with connectivity and technology, enabling social programs to improve quality of life and ensure equitable participation in the digital world.

Components of a Digital Community

To be considered a Digital Community, the project and location will substantially meet the following criteria:

digital communities graphic.

Focus Areas

Each Digital Community focuses on one or more of the following areas:

Community Education

Classrooms are equipped with strong internet signal, user devices, classroom materials and either educator-led instruction or self-guided engagement.

Career Development

Job skills training and certification courses are available to registered participants to support entrepreneurship and increase employability for under-skilled adults, with job placement support offered to graduates.

Healthcare Access

Basic healthcare services and digital health solutions are provided at clinics where access to healthcare is limited.

Financial Literacy

Financial literacy education is available through our instructor-led learning centers.

Digital Communities Global Presence

Current Status

Together with our partners, as of December 31, 2023, we have launched more than 580 Digital Communities, serving more than 720,000 people across 15 countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Uganda and the United States.

Pledges, Partners and Prizes

To build an ecosystem of like-minded organizations, we have joined coalitions, made pledges and engaged partners with the aim to build more Digital Communities and make a meaningful impact in underserved communities across the globe.

Global Connectivity

EDISON Alliance

The World Economic Forum’s EDISON Alliance aims to catalyze projects and partnerships around the world to provide connectivity and digital services to remote, rural and underprivileged populations. One of the fundamental needs to achieve the goals of the Alliance is to build the necessary connectivity infrastructure – cell towers, satellites, Wi-Fi or other technologies. American Tower made a pledge to build 2,000 Digital Communities by the end of 2026.

Digital Communities

Partner2Connect

Launched by the International Telecommunication Union, Partner2Connect Digital Coalition is a multistakeholder alliance which aims to bring meaningful connectivity and unleash digital transformation opportunities in the world’s hardest-to-connect places. American Tower made a pledge through Partner2Connect to build 2,000 Digital Communities by the end of 2026. 

US Department of Commerce

U.S. Department of Commerce

In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity Upskilling Initiative, a public-private endeavor to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth by providing primarily women and girls in Indo-Pacific emerging economies and middle-income partners access to training and education in digital skills. American Tower joined thirteen U.S. companies and committed to provide 500,000 upskilling opportunities to women and girls in India by 2032.

Digital Communities

N50 Project

The N50 Project is the Geeks Without Frontiers led initiative focused on the next 50% of the planet that does not fully digitally participate. The N50 partners’ primary focus is to launch projects for marginalized communities using best-practice playbooks for long-term delivery of ICT solutions. N50 is an open, inclusive ecosystem that is fueling transformation in some of the world’s most challenging environments. In 2022, American Tower joined N50 as a lead partner through the Digital Communities program.

Working Together

Cisco

The Cisco Networking Academy, a global partner of the Digital Communities program, offers digital literacy and career skilling courses to participants across our global footprint. Cisco Networking Academy is an IT skills-to-jobs program offering digital skills training through strong public-private partnerships, high-quality curriculum, and inclusive workforce development programs.

Digital Communities

WSIS

In 2021, the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) awarded American Tower’s Digital Communities program with the WSIS Prize in the International and Regional Cooperation category. WSIS is a United Nations multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to promote and enhance the global understanding and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for social and economic development.

Digital Community in Ixhuatan, Oaxaca, Mexico

   

Partner With American Tower

Digital Communities are established through strategic engagement between public and private partners – including for-profit corporations, nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and governments – to provide social impact programming under the unified mission to accelerate digital equity. To that end, we build, outfit, and bring Digital Communities online and work with the community on building a plan for a self-sustaining operation within three to five years.

Would your organization like to become a partner? Contact us.