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Reducing One Aspect of the Digital Divide – Connectivity

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journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2005 by Rahul Tongia
The digital divide, however defined, is a stark divide and a challenge for development and technology professionals. Many groups and governments have recognized this, and the UN devoted a global conference on this issue, the World Summit on the Information Society.5 It is actually a manifestation of other underlying divides, spanning economic, social, geographic, gender, and other divides.6 This note focuses on connectivity for developing countries, especially Africa, even though there are divides within developed countries. Here, we introduce several ideas—some of which have also been postulated in variants by others—for how to end much of the digital divide (at least the connectivity aspect). In particular, we present a proposal, dubbed FiberAfrica, to bring affordable and sustainable broadband to Africa [details on FiberAfrica begin on page 13]. We show how for just about $1/person one-time capital costs, the majority of Africans could avail of (virtually) free data connectivity within walking or cycling distance

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01/05/2005

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