The Internet is Building Bridges for Tomorrow

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Living and doing everyday things during a pandemic has been a transforming opportunity for many nations. As nations and societies, we have relearned social rules and adapted to live with limited face to face interactions. It hasn't been easy, but it has undoubtedly been cutting edge, bringing forward human ingenuity and collaboration. 

The main thing this pandemic has brought to light is the need for humans to work together. In this context, the UN Sustainability Goal 17, partnerships for the goals, focus on global collaboration to drive technological and financial progress for all nations. However, it has also highlighted gaps and challenges in developing countries and the roadmap ahead to meet the targets. 

Access to the Internet

Perhaps this is something many of us living in developed countries take for granted. We turn our smartphones, computers, tablets or even our TVs every day and immediately access the Internet with high-speed broadband. We do this without thinking that kids and adults may not have the same ability in other countries. Therefore, these kids and adults miss out on accessing information, services and products every day. 

During the pandemic, when many of us had to work and study from home, having access to the Internet and the right set of working tools - such as computers, printers and Wi-Fi - made a big difference. Those who didn't have access to these could not keep up with learning remotely. Many schools and governments had the ability to provide rapid solutions, such as computers and printers, to all. However, this was not the case in every country around the world. In some places, it meant kids suddenly had no access to education. 

According to UNESCO, only 55% of households worldwide have an internet connection. With 87% of families in developed countries connected and only around 47%of families connected in developing nations, and just 19% in the least developed countries.

The Internet nowadays is an important tool for development. It provides information relevant to science, technology and innovation, fostering and enhancing regional and international cooperation and knowledge-sharing. High-speed access is essential to ensure that Internet users can take advantage of the Internet's growing knowledge bank - including user-generated content, services and information.

This pandemic year, technology has been used to work towards the UN Sustainability Goals. In addition, cooperation between nations and organizations has enhanced tech's importance in education and information. Social media has also helped by giving people a voice and connecting people with common goals. 

Virtual Teams and Working Remotely

A few years ago, working remotely was considered a perfect dream, only available for those in positions of power. Long commuting times and even longer working hours were the norm. However, the pandemic changed this by building bridges, closing market gaps, and allowing people to work from anywhere. The use of technologies such as Microsoft Teams, video conferencing via Zoom and Google rooms, and direct online collaboration via other platforms have allowed international cooperation at a level never seen before. Every day decisions are made, conferences are held, classes are delivered thanks to these technologies. 

By allowing remote working, economies flourished in places where access wasn't available. More people at home during the day means more e-commerce and home deliveries are possible. Small businesses can now sell their products and services without the need for expensive rent or a physical storefront. 

But if there is one thing remote working needs, it is reliable and continuous access to the Internet. Hence governments and country leaders need to find a solution to the digital gap by working together to provide affordable and dependable internet access to everyone. 

Meaningful Connectivity — unlocking the full power of internet access

The alliance for affordable Internet, A4AI, is an organization hosted by the World Wide Web Foundation. Its purpose is to bring businesses, governments, and civil society members from across the globe together to deliver the policies needed to reduce the cost to connect and make universal, affordable internet access a reality for all. 

The A4AI focuses on reforming the policies and regulations needed to drive down prices and expand internet access in developing countries. Visit A4AI to learn more about their projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

The World Wide Web Alliance relies on public support, and it hosts a vast number of projects. Their donors include a wide variety of international organizations, government agencies, prominent foundations and companies, such as Facebook, Google, Internet Society (ISOC), and Microsoft, to name a few. 


Find out more about digital equality.


 

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Thinking Caps On 

Imagine you are a small business owner that wants to offer an educational product or service for small kids in kindergarten to learn to count and read. Brainstorm some ideas with your friends and family to find an effective way to teach this age group remotely and with technology. 

Things to consider: 

  • Do you need a website, or can it be delivered via social media? Is it a digital book? A song? A game?
  • How would you advertise your service or product? 
  • How much would it cost? 
  • Can it be available worldwide? or is there a distribution/shipping cost to consider?

Prepare your business plan and share it with us! We would love to see your ideas. 

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