Geeks Without Frontiers’ Vision To Bring Broadband To The Next Billion
July 10, 2013 (Redondo Beach, California) — Geeks Without Frontiers (GEEKS) today announces the release of its vision to bring broadband to the next billion – ”Broadband for a Billion (B4B): Working to Connect Everyone on Earth to the Internet by 2020″ – focused on leveraging its low cost, open source WiFi technologies to deliver broadband, especially to rural areas of the developing world.
GEEKS believes that the year 2020 will be viewed as the ‘Communications Singularity’—a single moment in time when every person on the planet will be connected. Based on recent economic models, a case can be made that bringing broadband to one billion people could create up to $1 trillion dollars of economic impact over the next decade.
The goal of GEEKS’ new initiative is to combine the power of social enterprise and low – cost technologies to allow WiFi to go ‘viral’ in the developing world by providing an ecosystem of hardware and software tools to establish village WiFi networks and to bring broadband to the next billion.
Michael Potter, one of the founders of the GEEKS initiative explained, “combining the power of the market with affordable, state of the art, open source tools will help internet WiFi networks to go viral globally. It’s the power of economics as opposed to aid. It’s using market forces to bring true and lasting change to unconnected areas of the world through access to enhanced communications. Geeks Without Frontiers wants to close the global digital divide by inspiring tens of thousands of local entrepreneurs to run small, local Internet businesses.”
An important driver for this expansion of internet connectivity by the end of the decade will come from open source WiFi- based mesh networks. GEEKS and its partners, the Tides Foundation, Google and Global Connect have, along with Cozy Bit and I-Net Solutions, developed a new open source WiFi standard 802.11s that has now been certified as the global standard by the IEEE. The WiFi solution, together with an “ecosystem” of hardware and software tools, will enable the development and rollout of large-scale mesh WiFi networks for a fraction of the traditional network cost making access to broadband in rural areas an affordable reality.
The ecosystem of tools will include micropayment systems, network management systems, a local advertising module and, eventually, renewable energy solutions to power the wireless networks. These represent a major step in achieving the vision of affordable broadband for all, capable of bringing tremendous economic and social benefits to millions of people, especially in areas where legacy broadband models are currently considered to be uneconomical.
Wireless communication is now being viewed as an important political and economic issue. In April 2013, Google’s Chairman, Eric Schmidt, argued, “By the end of the decade, everyone on Earth will be connected.” More recently, in June 2013, President Barack Obama declared that we must, “encourage further development of cutting-edge wireless technologies, applications, and services,” in his presidential memorandum entitled, “Expanding America’s Leadership in Wireless Innovation.”
The GEEKS ‘Communications Singularity’ vision to bring “Broadband for a Billion (B4B): Working to Connect Everyone on Earth to the Internet by 2020,” is available on the GEEKS website (www.geekswf.org) and will soon be available as an iBook for free download on iTunes.