Verizon CEO identifies 'most important' infrastructure of the century

Hans Vestberg previewed digital growth in a first on Fox interview on 'Mornings with Maria'

As world business leaders, heads of state and more plan to address numerous global issues at the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos, one CEO highlighted the "most important" infrastructure focuses of the century.

"I think one of the most important infrastructures in this century is a digital infrastructure," Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said on "Mornings with Maria," Tuesday.

"People being connected all the way from having connectivity and having services like digital healthcare, digital education, financial inclusion, inclusion through the digital technology is so important because, ultimately, we saw that during COVID; if you were not connected, you were not part of our society."

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Digital infrastructure refers to the physical and technological avenues for transporting and delivering information, products and services. It has become a key issue facing countries around the world, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite efforts from government entities and communication companies, roughly one-third of the world is left without adequate digital infrastructure, Vestberg said. 

"We spent a lot of time on that the last couple of years, and still 2.6 billion people on this Earth are not connected," Vestberg told host Maria Bartiromo. 

"The work is not only that they need to get broadband," he added. "They also need to get it affordable together with devices, and they also need usable applications all the way from digital education, legal, healthcare, financial inclusion."

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The Verizon CEO said the U.S. is among the countries in need of expanding wireless and broadband digital infrastructure. 

Last year, the Department of Commerce announced funding for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories to make reliable and affordable high-speed internet universal by 2030. 

The $42.45 billion grant program was created in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and funds high-speed internet infrastructure deployment through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program.

Awards ranged from $27 million to more than $3.3 billion, with every state receiving a minimum of $107 million.

Numerous states have also ramped up investments in digital infrastructure. Last September, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced plans to invest $386 million to expand the state's access to high-speed internet. 

"High-speed internet is no longer a luxury," Gov. Beshear said during a news conference. "It is an absolute infrastructure necessity."

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While efforts are underway in the U.S. and other countries throughout the world, Vestberg affirmed the "importance" of digital infrastructure.

"The importance of the digital infrastructure is just growing to be part of our society and working from home and all of that is important," he said. 

FOX Business' Aislinn Murphy and Julia Musto contributed to this report.