Challenge

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Affordably providing broadband Internet to rural communities

The Internet recently passed the four billion user mark. Despite this massive accomplishment, growth is rapidly slowing as dense, urban markets become saturated with cellular broadband signals. Affordably providing broadband Internet to this long tail of rural communities worldwide is an open research challenge.
15M
People Impacted
$ 143B
Potential Funding
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the problem
Nature and Context

Community Networks, largely defined as networks built and operated by local actors in a community-centric and often cooperative fashion, mitigate many of the economic concerns of operating in rural areas. The high cost of rural installations is reduced with local “know-how,” skills, and infrastructure. The low density of subscribers is mitigated by strong community participation, often engaging with core “anchor tenants,” such as local governments and schools, to ensure long-term sustainability

ideas
Ideas Description

Apps that facilitate broadband in rural areas

ACT - Access and Connectivity Toolkit is a collaborative planning toolkit that consolidates local knowledge and leverages data to improve broadband access and use. 24 million people in America and 12,000 people in Washington State lack access to even a basic broadband connection with a download speed of 25 Mbps and upload of 3 Mbps. Roughly a quarter of U.S. residents don’t have Internet at home, about the same percentage that don’t own a smart phone. These digital divides limit access to education, healthcare, jobs, and social experiences; but they also limit opportunities for communities, counties, cities, and tribes. Broadband access is a community issue and community leaders are getting organized to improve their broadband landscape. ACT Broadband is an assessment and planning toolkit that that helps local stakeholders come together and create better broadband options.

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