Google, Microsoft and others team up to make Internet access cheaper

Making broadband Internet access cheaper to purchase worldwide is the goal of a new group that has Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and Intel among its members. The group is called Alliance for Affordable Internet, which was announced today.

The A4AI's press release states that their goal is to bring entry level broadband Internet access worldwide, but with a price tag that would cost below five percent of a person's monthly income. Currently, it is estimated that people in developing countries have to pay as much as 30 percent of their monthly income to get that same amount of broadband access.

The group will look into promoting changes in policy and regulations in many countries where the price of Internet access is artificially high. The A4AI will start working with the governments of three or four countries by the end of 2013 and 12 countries by the end of 2015. It will also issue an annual Internet affordability report, with the first released by the end of 2013. The press release adds that the groups members, " ... have a belief that that policy reform, underpinned by robust research and genuine knowledge - sharing, is one of the best ways to unlock rapid gains in Internet penetration rates."

Earlier this summer, Google announced a new effort called Project Loom which hopes to bring Internet access to parts of the world via floating balloons. Microsoft has also made inroads in making Internet access more available in parts of Africa thanks to their their 4Afrika Initiative.

Source: A4AI | Image via A4AI

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45 Comments

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I dunno what's not affordable about 10 dollars a month for 20Megabit connection. Are they going to give us 1Gigabit for 5 dollars? :3

..... because access to explicit content is a right not a privilege!!

Its good that there doing that, getting everyone connected and more people to play on battlefield with

Spicoli said,
And then the other side of the coin - The Internet is the best propaganda machine ever devised.

It is called evolution: once we had the radio, then the TV, now Internet. Tomorrow.... there will be something else.

Fritzly said,

It is called evolution: once we had the radio, then the TV, now Internet. Tomorrow.... there will be something else.

In Holland and several other EU countries, Internet is a right by law.

Shadowzz said,

In Holland and several other EU countries, Internet is a right by law.

Indeed, as well as, in many Countries, is illegal to sell Sim locked phones.

We could have very cheap service if content providers would agree to pay for the last mile bandwidth they use with their premium services. Currently we're all paying for part of a Netflix or Amazon prime service even if we don't use it.

Spicoli said,
We could have very cheap service if content providers would agree to pay for the last mile bandwidth they use with their premium services. Currently we're all paying for part of a Netflix or Amazon prime service even if we don't use it.

just stop that right now!

We can't expect these corporations to put their money where their mouth is? Obviously they're going to want cheap Internet as that's more customers and costs them nothing.

Spicoli said,
We can't expect these corporations to put their money where their mouth is? Obviously they're going to want cheap Internet as that's more customers and costs them nothing.

the last mile is paid for already by us, its our connection to anything on the internet. Its a slippery road once content provider x is paying isp y a fee for their customers (who already pay to access anything) to access a specific service. Thats when we start to see very odd behaviour with speed of access and blocked services.

Mr.XXIV said,
Or how about giving the rest of America Gigabit internet...

Because gigabit internet is a real priority

I have freaking 4mbit internet at home, and I manage. It's painful, but I manage.

Spicoli said,
Who is going to pay for it? Getting copper out to the entire population was done with taxes.

Chicane-UK said,

Because gigabit internet is a real priority

I have freaking 4mbit internet at home, and I manage. It's painful, but I manage.

I'm paying for 50Mbps internet, the same price I can get 100Mbps from Optimum (my old service). It'd be nice if I can get Verizon FiOS in my area so I can get 500Mbps.

I'm a Web Developer and I host and run services on my very own Mac. I have my needs.

Mr.XXIV said,

I'm paying for 50Mbps internet, the same price I can get 100Mbps from Optimum (my old service). It'd be nice if I can get Verizon FiOS in my area so I can get 500Mbps.

I'm a Web Developer and I host and run services on my very own Mac. I have my needs.

Okay but would pay to run the fiber out to all those rural areas? The US is a very big country with not a lot of people.

Being a guy who's gonna invest on building his own place from the ground up. I'd say, I'd work with the taxes to make Fiber Optics a go within my area.

Spicoli said,
Okay but would pay to run the fiber out to all those rural areas? The US is a very big country with not a lot of people.

Once again, I'm proud to be a part of a government owned telecommunications company. Our taxpayers are our shareholders. As our commitment to them, we are rolling fiber out to the residents in our larger cities/towns, while offering Sattelite, xDSL and LTE technologies for Rural / villiage/hamlet access.

We plan to have some form of access available to 90% of our population by 2017. The geographical outliers do not have many options, but at least there are options.

Chicane-UK said,

Because gigabit internet is a real priority

It should be. Here in Canada it's such a half assed effort with coverage spotty and speeds/usage allowance often poor. It ends up hurting the economy and society as a whole.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

It should be. Here in Canada it's such a half assed effort with coverage spotty and speeds/usage allowance often poor. It ends up hurting the economy and society as a whole.

I feel bad for you guys AS a whole. The cell phone (Rogers) AND the internet.

I plan on driving up there to see my dad in Spring Break and I might regret it due to service quality.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

It should be. Here in Canada it's such a half assed effort with coverage spotty and speeds/usage allowance often poor. It ends up hurting the economy and society as a whole.

No problems here in SK on SaskTel network. Plenty of coverage. Best coverage in rural areas. We have 70% population covered by 4G with rural LTE awaiting the spectrum auction. And as I mentioned above, Fiber and xDSL in every center with a school or population over 10k.

I blame the rest of the provinces selling their crown corporations years ago to be the root cause of poor infrastructure development in those areas.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

It should be. Here in Canada it's such a half assed effort with coverage spotty and speeds/usage allowance often poor. It ends up hurting the economy and society as a whole.

I think you just made the opposite point. Reliability should be the priority and not gigabit throughput.

Screw that, what's the point if we're gonna lag out due to bad connection anyways? I play Gears of War 3. I love hosting on my Xbox. When I had Optimum, I made everyone feel like they were host because it was so fast. Priority wasn't even a worry.

Spicoli said,

I think you just made the opposite point. Reliability should be the priority and not gigabit throughput.

It's reliable if you can get good internet or cell coverage. That's not the problem.

The issue is getting it in the first place.

I can get up to 150Mbit/s where I live which is great. But when I lived literally a minute from the city limit (a city of >100,000) I couldn't get any fixed line internet at all and had to pay a small fortune for slow and restrictive "mobile" internet. This is what hurts a vast swathe of the population and they aren't all living in the "middle of nowhere" either. The bit that irritated me, and others in the area, was that the cable company had their infrastructure running that direction to the next town but just didn't bother to hook any one along the way up. Same with Bell. They had their fibre cables going the same direction but preferred to just "forget" presumably so they could charge $90 for some crap 3mbit wireless with 15GB usage. I had one, labelled as a fibre cable, literally hanging feet from my window on a telephone pole but could I get even standard DSL? No. Pure extortion because it's supposedly "rural".

Mr.XXIV said,
Or how about giving the rest of America Gigabit internet...

It's taking so long in the first city for Google that I can't even imagine how long it'll be for the rest of the country...

I'll do it with taxes. Anything that loosens the stranglehold that the broadband industry has on our wallets would be fantastic.

Mr.XXIV said,

I'm paying for 50Mbps internet, the same price I can get 100Mbps from Optimum (my old service). It'd be nice if I can get Verizon FiOS in my area so I can get 500Mbps.

I'm a Web Developer and I host and run services on my very own Mac. I have my needs.

While I'm all for faster internet you are extremely selfish if you believe you should have gigabit internet rather than people in developing countries being able to afford even basic internet access.

You sound like an over-privileged a-hole who wants everyone to know how much he has.

"on my very own Mac" lool.... it sure is rare to find someone who owns a Mac /s

M4x1mus said,

While I'm all for faster internet you are extremely selfish if you believe you should have gigabit internet rather than people in developing countries being able to afford even basic internet access.

You sound like an over-privileged a-hole who wants everyone to know how much he has.

"on my very own Mac" lool.... it sure is rare to find someone who owns a Mac /s

Oh I'm sorry for paying my own bills and having to worry about providing services in the areas that only I can worry about. If you're so concerned about others being "selfish", how about you go and try and be an "example", go to those other areas and do something about it.

And "over-privileged" my ass. I work for Apple, I'm a Web Developer, I invested in my own environment. I pay taxes for my business and personal income. How about you go tell Google's rich behind to go extend their network to North Carolina.

M4x1mus said,

While I'm all for faster internet you are extremely selfish if you believe you should have gigabit internet rather than people in developing countries being able to afford even basic internet access.

You sound like an over-privileged a-hole who wants everyone to know how much he has.

"on my very own Mac" lool.... it sure is rare to find someone who owns a Mac /s

Assuming you live in the "developed world" do you wake up every morning feeling guilty about having electricity or running water? Or that you earn more in a day than some dude in Sudan earns in a month? Of course you don't. Why? It's not your fault or your responsibility to "fix".

Hope your "Made in Bangladesh" shirt doesn't get caught up on a door handle and rip while you're "checking your privilege"

Mr.XXIV said,

Oh I'm sorry for paying my own bills and having to worry about providing services in the areas that only I can worry about. If you're so concerned about others being "selfish", how about you go and try and be an "example", go to those other areas and do something about it.

And "over-privileged" my ass. I work for Apple, I'm a Web Developer, I invested in my own environment. I pay taxes for my business and personal income. How about you go tell Google's rich behind to go extend their network to North Carolina.

Wow that comment obviously went right over your head. I was saying you were selfish because on an article that states companies are doing something to help people less fortunate get internet access you reply saying that you believe they should make sure everyone in america can get gigabit internet first. So according to you they should further increase the digital divide and just let poorer countries fall completely behind when it comes to internet access. That is selfish.

Not that I need to justify myself to you, but I give a good deal of money to charity, although everyone can always give more. Congratulations on paying the taxes you are legally obliged to pay btw... Your generosity clearly knows no bounds.

You say you aren't over privileged because you work hard as a web developer for your money. Imagine trying to get a job like that with little or no internet access. Do you think the people in poor countries work any less hard?

I'm 20. I work for Apple as a Mac Expert in the Sales Department, at home. I live in my own apartment, working on financing my own car and finding ways to make development more efficient as I work on my coming networks. There's no such thing as a privilege as being a Web Developer with any kind of internet access. I've developed sites using the internet of my phone instead of being able to afford fast internet.

Forget the poor, how about the governments or the rich aren't working on investments in those countries? If you think about it, the more internet access the people without get, the more the companies are gonna be able to invest on their own wealth. I'm not sure if you get what they're doing. It's not a scheme, but it is a pyramid..technically.

Investments, investments. We've all had it hard to some extent.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

Assuming you live in the "developed world" do you wake up every morning feeling guilty about having electricity or running water? Or that you earn more in a day than some dude in Sudan earns in a month? Of course you don't. Why? It's not your fault or your responsibility to "fix".

Hope your "Made in Bangladesh" shirt doesn't get caught up on a door handle and rip while you're "checking your privilege"

No, you are right. I don't wake up every morning feeling guilty for my privileges. But when I read an article about companies helping those less fortunate I don't "but I want more stuff before you start helping them". That is a disgusting attitude and one that for which anyone who has it should feel guilty.

If there was a serious issue in america with broadband speeds that wasn't being addressed and they did this then maybe it would warrant a response like that of Mr.XXIV. But there isn't. He is just mind bogglingly selfish.

Mr.XXIV said,
I'm 20. I work for Apple as a Mac Expert in the Sales Department, at home. I live in my own apartment, working on financing my own car and finding ways to make development more efficient as I work on my coming networks. There's no such thing as a privilege as being a Web Developer with any kind of internet access. I've developed sites using the internet of my phone instead of being able to afford fast internet.

Forget the poor, how about the governments or the rich aren't working on investments in those countries? If you think about it, the more internet access the people without get, the more the companies are gonna be able to invest on their own wealth. I'm not sure if you get what they're doing. It's not a scheme, but it is a pyramid..technically.

Investments, investments. We've all had it hard to some extent.

These companies will benefit from this as they will likely gain more users, but the countries that gain fast internet access will benefit far more.

"There's no such thing as a privilege as being a Web Developer with any kind of internet access."

What does that even mean. Are you saying you aren't privileged to have had internet access when learning web development? I'm a programmer (and web developer in my spare time) myself and I know that without being able to afford a computer or internet access I would have found it almost impossible to get to where I am today.

Trust me, if I could get the entire world to use Fiber Optics, I would. 10Gbps sounds so perfect to me if I were to run multiple Dedicated Servers in my house when I manage to build up an amazing network.

When I wasn't in my own house, internet is considered a privilege to me. Having to work to make a living and maintain yourself and the company. I could care less about much. There are many who may make money, but waste so much of it on the wrong things. Many with bad credit history and many who don't know about the benefits of our generations upgrades.

There's a tiny country that supports WiFi throughout the entire land...island.

M4x1mus said,

No, you are right. I don't wake up every morning feeling guilty for my privileges. But when I read an article about companies helping those less fortunate I don't "but I want more stuff before you start helping them". That is a disgusting attitude and one that for which anyone who has it should feel guilty.

If there was a serious issue in america with broadband speeds that wasn't being addressed and they did this then maybe it would warrant a response like that of Mr.XXIV. But there isn't. He is just mind bogglingly selfish.

It's a competitive world wide market these days. It could actually be counter-productive to give other countries a leg up.

ROFLCOPTERS said,

It's a competitive world wide market these days. It could actually be counter-productive to give other countries a leg up.

Yeah... sure....
I'll take my global economics advice from someone not named ROFLCOPTERS if its all the same to you. But thanks for your input.

M4x1mus said,

Yeah... sure....
I'll take my global economics advice from someone not named ROFLCOPTERS if its all the same to you. But thanks for your input.

Your choice.