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The COVID-19 pandemic significantly exacerbated the already profound implications of having 3.7 billion unconnected people across the globe. Unconnected populations lack access to digital healthcare, eLearning opportunities, or agritech services.
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In addition, falling global economies are creating global food insecurity, forcing those lacking internet access to make tradeoffs between staying healthy or earning a living. Governments and nonprofits are also challenged to support their offline constituents with online services.
IEEE Connecting the Unconnected Challenge
IEEE Connecting the Unconnected Challenge is seeking innovative conceptual ideas or solutions from early-stage projects pursuing unique ways to increase affordable Internet access and usage for unconnected (or under-connected) populations in three categories:
- Technology Applications to increase broadband connectivity and access
- Business Models that result in increased affordability
- Community Enablement which increases populations’ adoption of available broadband services
Individuals or group applicants can obtain up to $10,000 in funding for conceptual ideas or proof of concept pilots that bridge the digital divide.
- Conceptual Ideas: Proposing novel ideas that have not yet been tested or demonstrated, but could result in significant innovative advances.
- Proof of Concept Pilots: Showing demonstrated innovation with a basic proof-of-concept implementation and can show preliminary results.
The Challenge will culminate in the Connecting the Unconnected Summit on 3-5 November 2021, which will convene experts and thought leaders on the issue of internet connectivity.
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