The Internet has developed into a tool that is changing how people, businesses and governments communicate. For the last 20 years, the online world has produced millions of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity. The Internet is more powerful in developing countries than it is elsewhere. It helps bond people who have known only sustenance to a modern economy, and offer them opportunities for economic and social advancement. Still, 60 percent of the world’s population remains offline due to internet barriers.
There are four main reasons why using the Internet is not accessible or intimidating for many people in developing countries:
- Access is too expensive
- Countries / areas don’t have any internet because there is no wiring to their areas
- The Internet lacks content that is useful to them
- The Internet is too unfamiliar
So how can we remove these internet barriers?
Elon Musk with his Starlink project is in hopes of finding a new way of connecting people. The Starlink project aims to send signals and data travel back and forth between satellites and satellite dishes, as well as larger ground stations on Earth, to bring the internet into the homes of thousands of customers, mostly in rural locations with limited to no other options.
On the other hand, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is working on Project Loon to create wireless networks via equipment-laden balloons floating in the stratosphere. The balloons communicate with each other and send signals to ground-based networking equipment and mobile devices to connect people on the ground. Each balloon can deliver connectivity to about 80 km in diameter ground area using a wireless communications technology called LTE. Project Loon partners with telecommunications companies to distribute cellular range so people will be able to access the Internet anywhere directly from their phones and LTE-enabled devices.
But the big question is, once these projects are successfully launched to the world can other countries afford it? Internet affordability is very important and will offer the most significant opportunity for change. As these tech giants are battling out global internet, developing countries are also in hopes of acquiring these Internet advancements.