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Google spearheads initiative for cheaper Internet

updated 12:50 pm EDT, Mon October 7, 2013

Search giant teams with industry players

Google has announced that it has teamed with other tech companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to advocate for cheaper Internet across the globe. The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) believes policy change is necessary to encourage innovation and reach the UN Broadband Commission's goal of entry-level broadband access priced at less than five percent of monthly income worldwide.

"Whilst a range of amazing technical solutions to affordability challenges are emerging, even the best technologies in the world can't drive change if monopolies or regressive policies prevent them from being implemented," A4AI writes in a blog post.

The organization references an International Telecommunication Union study that found Internet pricing to average 30 percent of monthly income in the developing world. A separate UN Broadband Commission report suggests 90 percent of people living in the 49 least-developed countries lack Internet connections.

As the first steps toward achieving the UN's broadband goals, the advocacy group has published a list of recommended policies and regulations. Representatives will be on the ground in three countries by the end of the year to promote their ideas, and expand to 10-12 countries by the end of 2014.

Although A4AI is aimed at making changes in developing countries, Google has worked to shake up the domestic ISP industry by launching its own Google Fiber service. In a limited number of pilot locations, the search giant offers free 5Mbps service for seven years or Gigabit Internet at 1Gbps for $70 per month. The program is expected to push entrenched competitors to improve their service and value.

by MacNN Staff



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