ICT, drivers for social and economic inclusion

The digital divide is real and is still with us, even today. Barriers remain, whether geographic, economic, physical, or cultural.

Because information and communication technologies (ICT) accelerate progress and drive development for individuals and territories alike, their importance is strategic for society as a whole.

As a responsible operator, Orange is committed to combating all exclusion factors by investing and delivering innovative solutions. The Group is working towards ensuring that the greatest number of consumers possible have access in the best conditions possible to services that have today become essential.

Roadmap 2016-2020

 

Mitigating geographic disparities

To combat the geographic digital divide, Orange has long been investing in extending fixed and mobile network coverage.

In 2015, to meet the needs of the growing number of smartphone users, Orange has been rolling out 4G and 4G+ in Europe, Africa and the Middle-East. Orange's 4G is now available in 13 countries, including Jordan, Morocco and Botswana. In Europe more than 18 million customers can benefit. In Belgium, Spain, France, Moldova, Poland and Romania, the 4G network now covers more than 70% of the population. In France the Group has more than 8 million 4G customers, and 17 of France's biggest cities have 4G+ coverage. The ambition for Europe is to have 4G coverage in excess of 95% by 2018, in every country where the Group operates.

Orange has also deployed fixed high-speed networks (fibre optic with FTTH) in Spain, France, Slovakia and Poland. The number of households connectable through FTTH has increased by a multiple of 2.6. At end 2015 Orange had 960,000 FTTH customers (5.1 million households connectable); Spain has 809,000 and more than 6.8 million homes eligible.

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AMEA: 80% of the population covered by 3G by end-2015

We are also committed to digital inclusion in Africa, the Middle East and Asia (AMEA), where possible deploying innovative solutions adapted to local conditions, such as solar radio stations or community phones in the most remote rural areas.
In this context, the Group has teamed up with the GSM Association and seven major operators to facilitate access to mobile networks and the Internet in Africa and the Middle East with the aim of better serving rural communities there. By sharing infrastructure, the operators involved in this project will be able to reduce costs for all the inhabitants of these regions.
Our involvement in major submarine cable projects to link regions hitherto largely deprived of broadband coverage is part of this same desire.

 

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  1. Africa: a network development strategy based on innovation (featurer)

 

Initiatives to bring down age- or disability-related barriers

For several years past, to combat the digital divide as it effects people living with disability or the elderly, we have been deploying a strategy of "design for all" which notably aims to adapt our products and services to the needs of these groups and to design special products combining innovation, simplicity and ease of use.

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  1. Countries mobilized for disability matters

 

Initiatives to bring down economic, educational and cultural barriers
To combat educational and cultural exclusion factors, we organise awareness programmes and provide equipment in conjunction with local academic institutions, notably through the Orange Foundation.

 

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  1. Social learning goes online
  2. Kits for local social care professionals
  3. Technology facilitating learning

further information

  1. The ITU Report: Measuring the Information Report 2014
  2. Orange Commitment regarding Handicap (french only)
  3. 2014 Registration Document - page 84  (pdf)
  4. The Orange Foundation