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Communications of the ACM


Bringing the Internet to the (Developing) World

Ghana satellite

Satellite Internet access in Ghana.

Credit: IICD

For people living and working in North America, Europe, and other relatively prosperous regions of the world, access to the Internet is a given. Even if one cannot afford a private, subscription-based fixed or mobile account, Wi-Fi hotspots offering free Internet access are relatively ubiquitous in coffee shops, public libraries, and even in certain mass transit stations, which lets everyone with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop access the Internet.

Yet in the developing regions of the world, which include but are not limited to parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, there is relatively sparse infrastructure in place to allow citizens of these areas to access the Internet. Moreover, even when there are connections available, many people in those regions simply cannot afford either the devices required or the account access.


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