Options and Challenges in Providing Universal Access

Published in IEEE, 2018

Recommended citation: Prasad Mantri, Mohammed Aledhari, Helen Anne Hicks, Rajesh Nighot, Nagender Aneja, Sukanya Mandal, Ali Kashif Bashir, Jay Wack, Jared Bielby, "Options and Challenges in Providing Universal Access", IEEE Internet Technology Policy Community White Paper https://internetinitiative.ieee.org/images/files/resources/white_papers/OPTIONS-AND-CHALLENGES-IN-PROVIDING-UNIVERSAL-ACCESS-v180418.pdf


Global efforts towards achieving universal Internet access are encouraging, however many obstacles and challenges to providing this commodity for all global citizens still exist. The authors of the following white paper have identified five challenges in providing universal Internet access, positing potential solutions for each. The first challenge is infrastructure, with solutions focused on providing electricity and access in rural areas, options for infrastructure, and choosing types of infrastructure, including wired and wireless networks. The second challenge posited is cost, where solutions seek regulatory authorities to help shape markets to promote competition and ease of connectivity, which should lead to lower cost. The third challenge is digital literacy, where solutions look to localizing language online as a basis to providing digital skills. The fourth challenge is location and availability, where solutions include the use of innovative technologies and trending business models to reach the most remote locations. The final challenge is disinterest, where relevance and personal context are suggested as means to providing personal connections to the value of Internet access.