Broadband Everywhere: Media Implications of Internet Access for the Next Three Billion

By Jim Cashel

“In the 25 years since the World Wide Web appeared with the launch of the Mosaic browser, about half the population of the planet has gained access to the internet. In the next three to five years the other half will be gaining access. That second half of the planet’s population, notably, is the “poor half”, with most of the three billion or so future internet consumers currently living on less $2.50 per day.

“The impact of internet extension in developing countries will be profound. Broadband will bring many services that have thus-far been unavailable to a major segment of the world’s population, including information access, distance education, online banking, health services, and government programs. It will also, of course, bring many challenges, including fraud, misinformation, and hate speech.

… The extension of broadband into developing countries represents a dramatic opportunity for global media organizations. This includes commercial media, but also government news sources, development agencies, humanitarian groups, and other organizations active in poor and rural areas. Never in history have so many new users been introduced to media in such a short period of time. And as is the case with any powerful technology, the expansion of broadband will bring many opportunities and numerous perils for new media audiences.” 

– Jim Cashel, Visiting Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Read the article here.


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