We formed the Basic Internet Foundation in 2014 with the mission to enable Internet access, infrastructure, and digital inclusion programs on Global South and all under-connected areas world-wide.
Creating a common mission and best praxis for digital access in rural and under-connected areas globally, will build the basis for sustainable development and business take-up in these areas.
The Foundation machinery is fueled by the concept ‘‘Internet is a human right’’ to provide access to Information referred as ‘‘Internet Lite for All”. From our experiences in project activities, we see that at least one “Information Spot” per village is the core concept for digital inclusion and societal empowerment. Our developments suggest that the information spot should contain a village/society server carrying information and providing free access in the society.
The Foundation's project “Non-discriminating access for digital inclusion” (DigI / Internet light for all) is funded by the Norwegian Research Council and The Norwegian Ministry for Foreign Affairs with 15 MNOK (1,5 million euros) between 2017-2020.
While urban Sub-Saharan area develops thanks to participation in the digital society, the rural areas are left behind. The Foundation suggests establishing “Internet Lite”– Free Information spots in each village. The basis for digital innovation for development of Africa is the freemium (free & premium) model for access to the Internet. Free access to information "Internet lite" is seen as an enabler for digital literacy, participation and empowerment. Premium access is used for entertainment, being characterised as broadband content, and ensures a sustainable business model.
All these and future digital initiatives and projects require international cooperation and joint forces in overcoming challenges we face in a digital age.
The High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation was established by the UN Secretary-General in July 2018 to identify good examples and propose modalities for working cooperatively across sectors, disciplines, and borders to address challenges in the digital age. By the end of last year, the Panel announced the call for contribution on the global level, resulting in a final report with actionable recommendations in 2019.
If you and your organization are working on the digital initiatives projects related to the internet infrastructure, governance, and sustainable development goals, then this is a chance for you to contribute to the High-level panel on Digital cooperation. Here are some preliminary responses, including ours. Check out the various ways for your input and contributions, here.