At a time of social disconnection during this global crisis, people need to get online to stay healthy, educated, connected and safe but around 40% of households lack internet access worldwide. This digital divide is particularly acute in low income developing countries and it’s also very gendered. A report from GSMA, found that in low- and middle-income countries women are, on average, 26% less likely to use mobile internet. The biggest barrier is cost.
To bridge this digital divide, we’d encourage you to call on your government and tech companies near you to waive their fees and support people to get connected and to recognise the gendered impact of any inaction on this. To help you to get inspired, we’ve started to compile a list of different initiatives that are already in place on this issue.
But if you know of more initiatives like these or have decided to start one yourself – especially if outside Europe or North America, let others know by commenting below.
The government and the companies that provide mobile and broadband internet services have activated a “Solidarity Plan” allowing users to maintain connectivity even if they cannot pay their bill.
You can follow Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulators’ advice to ease the pressure on the UK’s network as part of their Stay Connected campaign.
Or join the Operation Wifi campaign to call on the UK government and businesses to convene the necessary experts in the tech world to bring free wifi to everyone in the UK.
In the USA
Altice USA and Charter Communications are opening more than half a million wifi hotspots and offering free broadband and wifi access to families with school or college students as well as educators who may need internet access to teach students at home.