Mark Zuckerberg made waves back in August when he announced Internet.org - a new group dedicated to bringing the Internet to the rest of the world through price reductions and innovations in wireless data delivery. Now a group of Internet companies are doing the same thing, but with a decidedly different focus.
Google announced today that it and more than 30 other members are launching the Alliance for Affordable Internet, or A4AI. Much like Zuckerberg's Internet.org, it's stated purpose is to bring Internet service to the estimated 5 billion people around the world who still aren't connected. Whereas Internet.org focuses on the technical aspects of this, A4AI will focus on the policy and cost side of the issue.
To be more specific, Google says that A4AI will work with countries around the world to influence policy changes that will make Internet more affordable. How affordable? Google says that ISPs in developing countries charge up to 30 percent of a person's monthly income for basic broadband services. With effective policy change, Google says it can bring down costs to the UN Broadband Commission's recommended target of 5 percent of a person's monthly income.
So, how is the A4AI going to accomplish this? It has three goals in mind:
The above is all well and good, but policy changes can only go so far. That being said, Internet.org and A4AI could join forces to bring down the costs of broadband services through a combination of policy changes and data delivery improvements. Facebook is already a member of A4AI, but Google isn't a member of Internet.org yet. That should probably change.[Image: Alliance for Affordable Internet]