THE UK GOVERNMENT will work alongside technology titans including Google and Facebook to help Sir Tim Berners-Lee in his mission to bring affordable internet to all.
The Alliance for Affordable Internet founded by Berners-Lee's World Wide Web Foundation received backing from the UK government on Monday, which will help the group reach its goal of bringing affordable internet to 90 percent of the global population that don't have access yet.
The group's mission is to bring entry-level broadband service to Asia and Africa, and to ensure it is priced at less than 5 percent of the country's average monthly income. At present, a basic fixed line broadband connection costs around a third of monthly income to those in developing countries, compared to an average of two percent in the UK and US.
Berners-Lee said lowering the cost is crucial to getting users in developing countries online, citing the fact that in Mozambique, 1GB of data can cost "well over" two months wages for the average citizen.
He said, "The result of high prices is a widening digital divide that slows progress in vital areas such as health, education and science. Yet with the advent of affordable smartphones, new undersea cables and innovations in wireless spectrum usage, there is simply no good reason for the digital divide to continue.
"The real bottleneck now is anti-competitive policies that keep prices unaffordable. The Alliance is about removing that barrier and helping as many as possible get online at reasonable cost."
Justice Greening, secretary of state for International Development added that the new alliance will move to stop anti-competitive regulations and policies from driving up the prices of broadband in poorer countries.
She said, "Over the last twenty years the web has changed our own society so much that everyday life seems unimaginable without it. Internet access has been a driver of economic growth. It puts power in the hands of people and opens up societies. Yet for millions of people across the world high prices still put it out of reach."
As well as Google and Facebook, the Alliance for Affordable Internet also has the support of companies including Intel, Microsoft and Yahoo. µ
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