New Group Joins The Affordable Internet Movement

Announced Monday (Oct. 7), the Alliance for Affordable Internet aims to make basic broadband available for less than five percent of monthly income worldwide. In developing countries, the cost can be up to six times as much.

What's the Latest Development?

Monday (Oct. 7) saw the launch of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), a coalition of 32 groups from the public, private and nonprofit sectors with one ambitious goal: to bring the Internet to the two-thirds of the world's population who don't have it today. To do this, they intend to focus on overcoming policy and infrastructure challenges that make online access more expensive in developing countries. Rollout will start small, with expansion to more countries targeted for 2015.

What's the Big Idea?

A4AI is the newest of several recent efforts to provide worldwide Internet access, including the Facebook-sponsored initiative According to a statement on the Web site, a fixed Internet connection can cost a household in the developing world an average of 30 percent of its monthly income. The result, says World Wide Web Foundation founder Tim Berners-Lee, "is a digital divide that slows progress in vital areas such as health, education and science. Yet with the advent of [new technology] there is simply no good reason for the digital divide to continue." A4AI hopes to reach the UN Broadband Commission's recommended target price of less than five percent of monthly income for entry-level broadband access.

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