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Bringing Affordable Internet Access to Developing Countries

Bringing affordable internet access to developing countries would help it to gain access to the global marketplace as well as manage healthcare crisis. Therefore, The Borgen Project is trying to get the Digital GAP Act passed because having access to the internet is very important for economic development, the act is attempting to ensure that impoverished countries get exactly that.

Fighting Pandemics via the Internet

Affordable internet access would help fight pandemics because it can be used to both: a.) train healthcare workers in better ways to help prevent communicable diseases from spreading; b.) monitor the spread of a disease before it turns into a pandemic.

Another way affordable internet access would help developing nations is by allowing people in remote areas to use telemedicine to get basic medical care. Telemedicine is using technologies such as the internet to allow people who live in remote areas, without enough doctors, to gain access to healthcare. However, it is only feasible in areas that have low-cost internet access.

The internet would greatly benefit people living in third world countries by providing them with the information they need to stay healthy, for instance, learning how to prevent death as a result of diarrhoea by staying hydrated, teaching people the ways to avoid contracting HIV, providing helpful information to diabetic people so that they can manage their condition better, etc.

Affordable Internet Access and Financial Independence

Bringing affordable internet access to developing countries allows people to sell their goods in the open market. For example, easy access to the global marketplace via the internet allows both farmers and artisans to directly sell their goods to international buyers, without going through intermediaries, thereby getting the full value of their commodities.

Many of the technical tools used by people in the third world to trade, such as the blockchain, require affordable internet access. These tools are there to ensure that sellers get a fair price for whatever they are selling in the global marketplace.

Digital GAP Act and Children’s Education

Children in developing countries can use the internet to get access to online educational materials so that they are able to learn independently using resources available on the internet. These educational resources only become viable in areas where affordable internet access is readily available to people.

Seymour Papert, an MIT professor, believed that giving students in impoverished countries access to electronic devices would enable them to become curious and learn more. MIT provided students with inexpensive laptops that are very hard to break and the Digital GAP Act ensures that connecting such devices to the internet is an affordable option so that the children can use their laptops to access online resources and learn independently.

The Borgen Project is trying to bring the Digital GAP Act to the attention of the legislators and has an online tool, that will allow people who care about helping other people in the third world get access to the internet, to send a letter to their representatives. The bill has already passed in the House of Representatives but must be introduced in the Senate.

– Michael Israel

Photo: Flickr