We believe that in today’s world access to digital information is necessary for economic viability and therefore should be considered a basic human right. Agoras are a cost-effective way to create educational & economic opportunity for entire communities.

Agoras embrace and promote a new approach to education called self-organizing learning environments (“SOLE”). Each solar powered Agora provides communal WIFI and is equipped with interactive, accessible computer tablets. An Agora is a neighborhood catalyst of hope. It gives anyone the ability to engage in self-directed education, to gain access to economic opportunity, and to connect to the world community.

The ITU estimates that 2.7 billion people – or 39% of the world’s population – will be using the Internet by end 2013. Internet access, however, will remain limited in the developing world, with only 31% of the population forecast to be online at the end of 2013, compared with 77% in the developed world.

Over the past four years, household access has grown fastest in Africa, with an annual growth rate of 27%. But despite a positive general trend, 90% of the 1.1 billion households around the world that are still unconnected are in the developing world.

Speaking to government Ministers gathered at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré said:

“We have made the most extraordinary progress in the first twelve years of the new millennium…and yet we still have far to go. Two thirds of the world’s population – some 4.5 billion people – is still offline. This means that two thirds of the world’s people are still locked out of the world’s biggest and most valuable library. Two thirds of the world’s people are still refused access to the world’s biggest market place. And two thirds of the world’s people are still denied the extraordinary opportunities now available to the other third. Mobile broadband is clearly going to be a vital part of the solution, and we must continue to ‘mobilize’ to ensure that all the world’s people have affordable, equitable access to the Internet.”

The cost of fixed-broadband services has dropped precipitously over the past five years, declining by 82% if measured as a share of GNI per capita. But in developing countries, residential fixed-broadband services remain expensive, accounting for just over 30% of average monthly GNI per capita – compared to just 1.7% of average national income in wealthy countries.

Broadband is most affordable in Europe, where a basic subscription costs on average less than 2% of GNI per capita. In some developing countries, that figure rises to well over 50%.

Differences in high-speed broadband Internet access still persist. In Africa, fewer than 10% of fixed-broadband subscriptions offer speeds of at least 2Mbit/s – a situation also reflected in several countries in Asia and the Pacific, the Americas and the Arab world.

We believe our Agoras will help spread WIFI and mobile broadband to developing areas where reliable internet access is still too expensive. Explore our pages of additional research and statistics to learn more about the potential for Agoras.