Summary of Connecting the Last Billion

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Connecting the Last Billion summary

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Nicholas Negroponte, co-founder of the MIT Lab, is passionate about universal Internet connectivity, and he dreams big. Jessica Rosenworcel, a commissioner for the US Federal Communications Commission, is more realistic about bridging the gulf between those who have ready access to the Internet and those who don’t. Together, they dissect the feasibility of extending Internet access to all. getAbstract recommends their lively discussion to policy makers, leaders of the telecommunications industry and anyone interested in mending the gnawing digital divide.

About the Speakers

Nicholas Negroponte is a co-founder of the MIT Media Lab. Jessica Rosenworcel works at the Federal Communications Commission. John Markoff is a journalist at The New York Times.


Just 43% of the global population has access to the Internet, and only 5% of the world’s 7,100 languages are represented online. Yet Internet access is a civic responsibility, if not a human right and, like other public utilities, should be free. “Connectivity is education,” and it elevates citizens and communities. Alas, to the detriment of society, telecommunications is big business. Governments sell expensive licenses to Internet providers – a model that ensures telecommunications remains a profit-seeking industry.

In the 1980s, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) identified...

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