Google backs project to slash Internet costs worldwide

A new coalition wants to ensure broadband access costs less than 5 percent of monthly incomes

Internet access can be expensive, especially in developing countries. Google is backing a new project that aims to change that.

The search giant said Monday it has helped found the Alliance for Affordable Internet, or A4AI, a global coalition backed by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee that hopes to dramatically cut the cost of Internet access.

Households in developing countries pay roughly a third of their monthly income for a fixed Internet connection, according to figures from the International Telecommunication Union.

"The reason for the Alliance is simple -- the majority of the world's people are still not online, usually because they can't afford to be," Berners-Lee said in a statement.

A4AI has a specific goal: to make broadband service cost less than 5 percent of average monthly income.

It hopes to do that by promoting a set of policy and regulatory best practices, like allowing spectrum to be used in new ways, banning excessive tariffs on telecom equipment and ensuring competition.

Google is a founding member of A4AI, which means it provides significant financial and other support. The other founders are UK Aid, US Aid and the Omidyar Network, an investment firm. Other members include Microsoft, Yahoo and Cisco Systems.

Bringing the Internet to developing countries isn't a new idea. Google already has "Project Loon," which aims to connect people in rural areas using a network of hot air balloons, and it wants to bring broadband to Africa via unused TV broadcast channels.

Only 16 percent of people in Africa use the Internet today, according to the ITU -- half the penetration seen in Asia and the Pacific.

The group will begin its work in two or three countries this year -- it didn't say which ones -- expanding to at least 10 countries by the end of 2015. It will also produce an annual affordability report, with the first edition due in December.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftinternetGooglesearch enginesYahooconsumer electronicsCisco SystemsInternet-based applications and servicesInternet service providers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?