News / Science & Technology

New Group Aims for Affordable Internet Access

Former physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World-Wide Web as an essential tool for High Energy Physics (HEP) at CERN from 1989 to 1994. He is now helping lead an effort to bring the Internet to the developing world.
Former physicist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World-Wide Web as an essential tool for High Energy Physics (HEP) at CERN from 1989 to 1994. He is now helping lead an effort to bring the Internet to the developing world.

Related Articles

Google Introduces New Search Algorithm

'Hummingbird' is Google's effort to tackle more complex searches by matching the meaning of queries with that of documents on the Internet

Apple Dethrones Coca-Cola as World's Most Valuable Brand

Soft drink manufacturer has been number one for 13 years

Google, Facebook Carve out 'Internet Empires'

Google dominates West and India, while Facebook is king in Middle East and Latin America
Millions of people around the world are being left behind, unable to get the information they need to better their lives because they cannot afford internet access.  

Now that is about to change. The newly launched Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) aims to drive down the cost of broadband Internet access in developing countries.

A4AI, which is backed by 30 companies and organizations such as tech titans Google, Microsoft and Facebook as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Department of State and the UK Department for International Development, wants to help broadband Internet access prices fall to below 5 percent of monthly worldwide income.

The group says this would allow two-thirds of the people currently not connected to connect.

A4AI says that in developed countries the price of fixed broadband as a share of per capita gross national income has dropped 823 percent. Those costs represent only 1.7 percent of monthly income. In the developing world, the price of broadband is a staggering 30.1 percent of average monthly incomes, A4AI reported.

“The majority of the world’s people are still not online, usually because they can’t afford to be. In Mozambique, for example, a recent study showed that using just 1GB of data can cost well over two months’ wages for the average citizen, said Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web and founder of the World Wide Web Foundation.

He added that “the result of high prices is a digital divide that slows progress in vital areas such as health, education and science.”

“With the advent of affordable smartphones, new undersea cables and innovations in wireless spectrum usage, there is simply no good reason for the digital divide to continue. The real bottleneck now is anti-competitive policies that keep prices unaffordable. The Alliance is about removing that barrier and helping as many as possible get online at reasonable cost,” Berners-Lee said. 

Digital divide will be bridged country by country

A4AI cites some startling statistics about the digital divide. In the developing world, only 31 percent of the population is online, compared to 77 percent in the developed world. Ninety percent of households not connected to the Internet are in the developing world. In Africa, for example, only 16 percent of people are using the Internet, half the penetration rates of Asia.

To bridge the divide, A4AI says it will start with “in-country engagements” with three to four countries and will expand to 15 by the end of 2015. The group plans to issue an annual “Affordability Report” starting this December.

“Nearly two out of every three people don’t have access to the Internet - this is a massive challenge that can’t easily be solved by a single solution or player,” said Jennifer Haroon, Access Principal at Google. “The world needs technical innovation and vision to bring more people online, but we also need a strong policy foundation that allows new ideas to flourish. By working alongside Alliance partners, we can help lay the groundwork needed to drive innovation and bring the power of the Internet to more people," she said.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid