Google, as part of a coalition of more than 30 organizations, aims to make Internet service affordable the world over. Some 5 billion people, including more than 49% of people in the world’s 49 least developed countries, lack Internet access, the Internet titan points out on “The Official Google.org Blog.”
Of course, most people living in the world’s lesser and least developed countries probably lack a lot of things, like easy access to clean water and energy, basic nutrition, sanitation and health care services, economic and educational opportunities, etc., but Internet access is among them.
Affordability is another hurdle for those looking to get connected. For billions of people, basic Internet service can cost as much as 30% of their monthly income, Google notes.
Joining more than 30 organizations, the pioneering information technology leader is aiming to rectify that with the launch of the Alliance for Affordable Internet. As laid out on the Google Foundation’s blog the A4AI coalition “cuts across boundaries of geography, sector, or size…to help bring down Internet costs through policy change.”
As Google explains, “New technologies play a crucial role in bringing the Internet to more people worldwide–we’ve developed and invested in many of these big ideas over the years.
“We broke new ground with balloon-powered Internet access, are bringing broadband to Africa with TV White Spaces, and are funding organizations like the Internet Society to develop Internet Exchange Points in emerging markets.”
Highlighting the importance of policy change in achieving A4AI’s goals, Google notes how the establishment of national broadband strategies, such as those launched in Kenya and other countries, have produced results fast.
Initiated by the World Wide Web Foundation, A4AI is marshaling resources from organizations spanning the info tech, government and non-profit sectors and focusing in on developing new access technologies and initiatives that can bring affordable Internet access to those that lack it.
More specifically, A4AI intends to realize the UN Broadband Commission goal of providing broadband access for all at less than 5% of monthly income. Moving forward to achieve this, initial projects have been launched, including:
- Publishing a set of policy and regulatory best practices
- Working directly with governments, with plans to engage with 10+ countries by the end of 2015, and
- Releasing the first edition of an annual affordability report