Tuesday, July 25, 2006

INTERNET ACTIVISM IN CHILE…. Part 3: Broadband for All!

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of Atina Chile's projects is a campaign to provide broadband (banda ancha) internet access to everyone in Chile (defined as internet access as a speed of 1 MB/sec or higher). At first I thought, is that really necessary?

But after I finished translating the broadband manifesto into English, it seemed pretty reasonable. Internet for all is not an unreasonable expectation for a middle-income country with a relatively small population (16 million). And if you are giving internet access to everone, why not make it fast enough so people can actually be productive? (For anyone who has used a painfully slow connection, you know that connection speed is necessary to use the internet effectively.)

One of the goals of the manifesto (which I've excerpted below) is making Chile an international center for technology. Pretty ambitious for a middle-income country of 16 million, no? But why not? Singapore is an international technology hub and its population is only about 4 million. In this globalized economy, it's skills that matter and if Chile is willing to invest in making its people high-tech workers, it could become to hub it hopes to be. Here are some of the key points of the manifesto.

...we commit ourselves to mobilizing according to the following Manifesto:

-Broadband is not a technological product; it is a social intervention that entails certain material benefits in Education, Culture, and Opportunities.

-That the state and society recognize the importance of broadband as a basic service, like light and water, the right to have broadband in homes in Chile and low-cost computers for individuals.

-Digital Literacy "with intent," which is to say that the population does not learn to "drive" tools without learning how to put them to practical use, for example with applications in Health, Work, and Education

-A national plan to introduce WiFi systems in all concentrated urban areas in the country, including towns and villages in the regions, which allows for free connectivity and a reduction in the cost of info-centers and internet cafés.

-Organization of a national public offer of cheap broadband (2 MB) for all

-Use of resources to subsidize computer access and broadband for middle and low-income groups.

[italics indicates translation]

categories: internet activism_, chile_, the "developing world"_

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> For anyone who has used a painfully slow connection, you know that connection speed is necessary to use the internet effectively

yes! i installed 56k access to a child's computer last night and to see where his immediate interest went (to share pictures from our last event) - i'm glad he was incredibly patient but his mom clearly wasn't!

happy to say this family already has a vision to install broadband and this is just a stopgap measure to get things going. they would be delighted to hear more affordable access in thailand - rates for access are at USD-like rates and it was a bit of a shock to do the math last night and realize you pay for 56k access at about the same rate [as broadband] once you include telephone access charges. i just shook my head.
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