Upcoming Workshop Explores How to Connect Billions of People to the Internet

Event to be streamed live on IEEE.tv on 5 and 6 October

4 October 2016

Technology and policy leaders will convene on 5 and 6 October in Washington, D.C., for Internet Inclusion: Global Connect Stakeholders Advancing Solutions, the latest workshop tackling one of the top economic, social, and technical challenges of our time: connecting everyone to the Internet. The workshop was organized by the IEEE Internet Initiative in collaboration with the Internet Society, People Centered Internet, and the World Bank Group. IEEE members can view the live stream on IEEE.tv.

The workshop will explore ways to address challenges such as building an infrastructure for wireless connectivity and providing affordable Internet access in underdeveloped communities and regions around the world.

“The event will engage key stakeholders in meaningful dialogue to accelerate progress in connecting the estimated 60 percent of the global population that remains unconnected today,” says IEEE Member Oleg Logvinov, chair of the IEEE Internet Initiative.


The event’s agenda includes a number of workshops and panels on a variety of topics, including the state of Internet inclusion in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. One workshop will focus on creating a road map to identify policies that are needed to provide Internet access as well as potential obstacles that must be overcome. Common barriers include the high cost of Internet infrastructure and access and lack of funding for related projects, as well as the need for improved digital literacy among users.

There also will be a roundtable discussion on the unique role technologists can play to help identify high-impact projects and to see them through.

Participants include representatives from nongovernmental organizations, the technical community, and banks that provide funding for development projects.


The workshop follows the Internet Inclusion: Advancing Solutions event held on 15 September in Delhi, India. That event focused on barriers and opportunities for expanding affordable Internet connectivity in South Asia. In his opening remarks, Richard R. Verma, U.S. ambassador to India, spoke about the need for increasing Internet accessibility and bridging the digital divide.

This week’s workshop also builds on Global Connect Stakeholders: Advancing Solutions, which was held in April in conjunction with the World Bank, the U.S. State Department, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. An article I wrote with Mei Lin Fung of People Centered Internet shares insights from that event.

By bringing together two historically disparate worlds—technology and policy—the IEEE Internet Initiative is helping to prioritize next steps to help bring Internet access to everyone. Find out more about the initiative’s mission and its accomplishments in our newsletter.

Karen McCabe is IEEE’s senior director of technology policy and international affairs, in Piscataway, N.J. She leads the organization’s partnerships with the United Nations and other international bodies, with a focus on engagement of the technical community and the intersection of policy and technology in information and communication technologies. She is a member of the Internet Society and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Internet Technical Advisory Committee.

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