The United States recently passed a massive infrastructure bill, including the allocation of $65 billion to modernize the Internet. In this package, the new threshold for broadband is now defined with download speeds of 100 Mbps or higher. For many Americans challenged with broadband difficulties working and learning from home, especially during COVID, the new threshold speed will be a welcome relief. Yet, for many users around the world that lack this newly-defined broadband speed, including many Americans, the digital divide gap only widens further. According to a recent survey, only 12% of global households have broadband speeds greater than 100 Mbps. These homes are referred to as served. Nearly half of homes don’t have Internet, or unserved. The remainder of homes that have Internet, but less than the broadband definition, are underserved.
Solving the Divide with Wireless
New wireless technology, such as 5G, is ideal to solve the digital divide issue. 5G speeds are fast enough to meet the new broadband definition. Wireless is affordable to deploy across large areas. The last mile of the Internet, which is the connection into a home or business, has traditionally been the most expensive and least reliable part of the Internet. Now, this changes with wireless. Especially as new ISPs enter the market and offer alternatives.
In fact, this is already happening around the world. Wireless ISPs are being created to bring Internet to homes that have never had it before. They’re forming to provide competition to wireline broadband, offering users new choices. And there will be many more that will be formed, and need to be formed, to close the gap of the digital divide. There are billions of users around the world that need to be connected to the Internet.
Governments, like the United States, are now allocating funds to accelerate this process and bring broadband to everyone. The municipalities and ISPs that are recipients of these funds have an obligation to:
- Network creation – deploy capital efficiently to build local broadband networks for all users in the specified coverage area
- Network reporting – accurately count the total subscribers connected with broadband
The Airwaive Project
Previously, we announced our marketplace platform to solve the first issue. Using the marketplace, ISPs (operators) expand networks quickly and affordably by connecting with property owners to host wireless access points.
Now, we’re excited to announce the Airwaive Project to help solve the second issue. When funds are deployed from charitable organizations and governments, it is important to validate that the funds are meeting their desired objectives. In this case, we use the blockchain and its trust mechanism to validate that users are connected at broadband speeds. There is no single company or organization that should report this data, nor should they be able to manipulate it to their advantage. Instead, the community validates that users are being connected at broadband speeds. We call it Proof of Connectivity. Furthermore, when combined with a marketplace, rewards can be generated for the hosts of wireless access points, encouraging the expansion of the wireless network.
The Airwaive Project provides the tools and incentives for the components of a decentralized wireless network to thrive, offering Internet service providers, hosts and validators the resources and motivation to build and scale the Internet using wireless to reach everyone on the planet. Our mission is not complete until 100% of the world has affordable access to broadband Internet.