Everybody wants everyone everywhere to be on the internet!

The ubiquitous Tim Berners-Lee is today helping launch the Alliance for Affordable Internet  (A4AI) campaign in furtherance of its objective that “… everyone, everywhere should have affordable access to the internet in line with the UN Broadband Commission’s goals and wants to play a key role in making this a reality.”

Or in “about us” terminology “… a coalition to lead policy and regulatory reform and spur action to drive down artificially high internet prices in developing countries. By advocating for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets, A4AI aims to help access prices fall to below 5% of monthly income worldwide, a target set by the UN Broadband Commission. Reaching this goal can help to connect the two thirds of the world that is presently not connected to the internet (source: ITU) and make universal access a reality.”

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This coalition “.. a diverse group of private and public sector” has as its principal global sponsors Google, the Omidyar Network  (a philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam) the UK’s DFID  and the US’s USAID .

Here’s the full list of members We couldn’t help but notice the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women.

As we mentioned previously, two thirds of the unconnected world are in Asia and simply in number terms, the laggard countries are primarily China and India.

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Looking at the Broadband Commission for Digital Development  which is in reality a UNESCO/ITU venture we were impressed by the specificity of their approach.

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Their 2015 targets are:

  • Target 1: Making broadband policy universal – By 2015, all countries should have a national broadband plan or strategy or include broadband in their Universal Access / Service Definitions.
  • Target 2: Making broadband affordable – By 2015, entry level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries through adequate regulation and market forces (amounting to less than 5% of average monthly income).
  • Target 3: Connecting homes to broadband – By 2015, 40% of households in developing countries should have Internet access.
  • Target 4: Getting people online – By 2015, Internet user penetration should reach 60% world wide, 50% in developing countries and 15% in LDCs.(Least developed countries)

We’ll leave you with their graphical representation of Target 4 – quite a mountain to climb- particularly for the Least Developed Countries!

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