The importance of internet access in the development of nations has led to a number of efforts to get third world countries connected, and has been met with mixed results. The infrastructure, topography and/or the remoteness of many areas has presented a challenge in getting much of the world online. The following are ten attempts to provide internet access to third world countries:
- One Laptop Per Child – With a mission to empower the world’s poorest children via education, OLPC seeks to provide every child with an affordable connected laptop. They are currently working on connecting Latin America, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Haiti, and Mongolia, among other countries.
- Google – Google’s Internet Bus Project brings an internet-enabled bus to India in order to educate people about the internet and how it can benefit them. You can follow the project as it progresses at this site.
- Green Wi-Fi – Using solar Wi-Fi, they provide “last mile internet access with nothing more than a single broadband internet connection, rooftops and the sun” in places like Lascahobas, Haiti.
- Connect Africa Initiative – begun in 2007, the program sought to bridge technological gaps in the African region employing the aid of several IT companies as well as the European Commission, China, and India.
- Connect the Caribbean Initiative – Attempting to “connect the unconnected by 2015”, this project is the Caribbean version of the ITU’s (International Telecommunication Union) Connect the World initiative, and is hosted by the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Operators (CANTO).
- Connect Asia-Pacific Summit – One of ITU’s projects, which seeks to establish global connectivity by the year 2015, this one is an effort to provide information and communication technology to the Asia-Pacific region.
- Connect Arab Summit 2012 – Partnering with the League of Arab States, the United nations agency for information and communication technology, the ITU has established this region as part of its over-arching initiative to connect the world by 2015.
- O3b Networks – In an effort to connect the “other 3 billion (O3B) people to the internet, O3b networks is creating a global internet backbone to serve several billion consumers, businesses, and other organizations in 177 different countries.
- United Villages – A company whose mission is to bring the internet age to remote communities utilizing a “store and forward” concept. Villagers store their data and email on a local server, and United Villages’ internet-equipped vehicles gather all this data, drive to a Wi-Fi or cellular -equipped city, and forward it over the internet.
- The United Nations, on June 3, 2011, declared internet access to be a basic human right. “Given that the Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states.”
It’s only a matter of time before the internet bridges connections in third world countries around the world, helping to catch them up with all of the countries who already have unlimited access. Soon enough we really will be fully connected.
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