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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid