Speaker: Dr. Arjuna Sathiaseelan (Cambridge University)
Title: Networking for Development
The Internet has played a great role in fuelling the transition of our society from the industrial age to the information age and is seen as a fundamental driver of today’s knowledge economy. However only 40% of the world’s population, mostly in developed economies have access to the Internet. Emerging economies such as Africa, Asia and Latin America have some of the lowest Internet penetration rates. Some of the reasons cited for lack of Internet access are affordability, lack of infrastructure, perceived lack of need, linguistic barriers etc.
Historically, the worldwide Internet penetration has grown at a rate of around 2%-3% every year. If this trend is to continue, then we are going to witness a divided information society for many more years to come. It is mandatory to expedite this growth by addressing some of the key challenges. Lack of Internet access has been recognised as an universal problem and in the last few years there have been several initiatives involving the private sector, public sector, and civil society organisations across the world to help accelerate Internet growth.
In this talk, I will focus on the need to address the socio-economic barriers for enabling universal access. I will specifically discuss the challenges we faced as academics while exploring a technological solution that on paper showed immense promise but faced obstacles on the ground/in-the-wild. I will conclude my talk by reporting some results from a survey we conducted across several network operators (in both developed and developing regions) to understand their take on our proposed solution.
Venue: Eng. 209
Time and Date: 2 to 3 PM, Wednesday, 18/03/15.