johnklos 29 days ago [-]
Interesting, but buying in to the Google world requires a substantial amount of locking-in. Perhaps you should examine open source, open OSes and not OSes designed to funnel data to large for-profit companies.

"Studets" should have an "n" ;) (https://giveinternet.org/en/our-work/projects)

What kind of work is going on to provide alternative methods of Internet delivery, be they sharing from other parts of communities, buying Internet in bulk, working with ISPs to get discounted pricing, et cetera?

jibla 29 days ago [-]
Thanks for your feedback. Agree, we are considering open-source OS's as well. We are at an early stage and Chromebooks were fast and cheap solutions to start with. But will take your comment into consideration.

We work with the incumbent operators and smaller Wifi providers. They offer free installations for our families and in some areas discounts on a monthly fee. Btw we thought we were solving the affordability problem, but it turned out some local Wifi operators are willing to deploy infrastructure in areas where they considered not profitable before. As part of our partnership in September, they launch a new base station in a rural area of Georgia and we are excited about it.

UncleSam 29 days ago [-]
"Stundents" -> "Students"
mycall 28 days ago [-]
Amazing Google still has 6,160,000,000 hits for the prior. IMHO, it is a new word due to large typos.
easytiger 26 days ago [-]
Google's search results are pretty meaningless these days due to changes in presentation of results and inference of intent
not_a_cop75 29 days ago [-]
Perhaps I'm the asshole here, but until internet companies feet are really held to the fire on pricing, I don't feel like giving is going to make a substantial difference. If suddenly the money becomes available to sponsor millions of people's internet, the price of the internet will magically jump 50-500% in cost.

Additionally, while we want to magically give internet to all nations and I think that is a wonderful gesture, it seems to me that the very best thing we can do for the whole of mankind is to improve the impulse control of every single person alive today. With proper impulse control comes the ability to want to be educated and make a difference. Internet certainly makes it possible to become more educated, but without proper impulse control I'm afraid it would all be wasted on uselessness. I say this as someone that has themselves looked at way too many cat pictures and Netflix videos. Also the internet seems to be awash with types of vendors that are trying their very best to remove the impulse control of others. I don't think giving Candy Crush to the entirety of any continent is going to benefit if impulse control is the issue that is causing them the most struggle. Perhaps we should better focus on giving people the types of applications and access that are scientifically proven to improve lives? Just a thought.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
The prices for internet connection are much cheaper in developing countries 10-15 USD and we work with local ISP's and small Wifi operators where they provide free installations and some operators provide discounts on monthly fees.

Regarding your second question I am copying my answer from a post below:

Besides connecting students, we run an online mentorship program via Chat, online groups, sometimes phone/ video calls. First Students receive a link with a "welcome package"-list of most popular and relevant educational platforms which are available in the local language. We also partner with the local EdTech partners who provide their services for free for our students, so if anyone is interested in any platform we teach them how to use it and provide free access. We are also long term partners with Khan Academy and Code.org and actively promote these platforms to the students.

On a weekly basis, we post in an online group different educational content, free offers from our partners and education organizations who provide their courses for free (both online and offline), we post different scholarship opportunities, fellowships, programs, etc.

We plan to provide tailor-made educational content separately to each student according to their interests and challenges. Also thinking to test different models.

At some point, I am not sure yet how can we maintain this educational part on a bigger scale. Hopefully through partners on the ground. But still, we believe that since we all take internet connection for granted and at the same time utilize it for the good of ourselves (not always of course), others have the same right to do it.

austincheney 29 days ago [-]
When I upgraded to fiber I was paying $80 per month for unlimited data that averages around 920mb up and down to my house. The website says its now only $70 and it still performs the same. My ISP upgrade the entire neighborhood to fiber at no cost. Before fiber I was paying around $50 per month for 10mbps down and 3mbps up.

I know people like to hate on ISPs for pricing or availability, but I consider my case to be a fair deal. I live in a house in the US.

tguvot 29 days ago [-]
You are not an asshole, but... There is a big difference in pricing and revenue of internet providers in USA and in lets say Africa. In USA mobile providers have ARPU of 30-40$ per user or so while in Aftica it will hover around 1$ (in some countries a more in some even less). It makes networks barely profitable and unwilling to expand to more rural or poor areas because it will hurt bottom line.
mruts 29 days ago [-]
My wife started a school/community center is Africa and we are one of the only places in town with computers and internet you can use for free. It was a rare occasion indeed that anyone wanted to do anything except watch youtube videos. Now that we banned youtube, people honestly aren't really that interested.

I'm not saying internet is bad or whatever, it's just that it's not going to change people's lives without a lot of groundwork first. Educating people so they have questions to ask, or things to produce, or knowledge to acquire. We both really thought having free internet access was going to be a paradigm shift for these kids, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be making much of a tangible difference at all. You could make the argument (I personally don't), that it has actually made things worse.

qwerty456127 29 days ago [-]
> Now that we banned youtube

That's a pity. YouTube is a treasure of awesome educational videos, better than any school can be. If only I had YouTube when I was a schoolboy... Cool people explain math (and other subjects) I could never understand but grok instantly this way. I can also hardly imagine a better media spreading cultural progress. It also promotes artistic expression, incl in poor people - have you seen the post about african teens making short scifi movies? If I had to choose just one website to give everybody on Earth access to that would be YouTube.

Nevertheless narrow content kind focus can be a problem - if somebody watches nothing but stupid/weird stuff (it may be good to have this kind of fun occasionally but one should not focus on this too much) and is suggested more and more videos of the same kind this can hardly be beneficial. Perhaps Google should invent a solution to this problem. E.g. showing some educational videos among recommendations regardless to what kind of videos you watch.

erklik 27 days ago [-]
> if somebody watches nothing but stupid/weird stuff

the issue with that, is what counts as stupid/weird? Is watching vlogs stupid/weird? Is watching people like Logan Paul, weird or stupid? One could argue that you could actually learn alot from people like Logan Paul, about what to do and what not to do.

Also, people can learn things from the unlikeliest of sources.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
You are right Youtube is a real gem, but only if used in a proper way. One of the challenges we have, that right after internet installation students check youtube and for the first-time users, it shows only the most popular content which unfortunately is far from the educational one. That's why we try to navigate students via our online mentorship program (described above) and guide them on how to use the internet (and btw youtube)for education
jibla 29 days ago [-]
Besides connecting students, we run an online mentorship program via Chat, online groups, sometimes phone/ video calls.

First Students receive a link with a "welcome package"-list of most popular and relevant educational platforms which are available in the local language. We also partner with the local EdTech partners who provide their services for free for our students, so if anyone is interested in any platform we teach them how to use it and provide free access. We are also long term partners with Khan Academy and Code.org and actively promote these platforms to the students.

On a weekly basis, we post in an online group different educational content, free offers from our partners and education organizations who provide their courses for free (both online and offline), we post different scholarship opportunities, fellowships, programs, etc.

We plan to provide tailor-made educational content separately to each student according to their interests and challenges. Also thinking to test different models.

erklik 27 days ago [-]
> Now that we banned youtube, people honestly aren't really that interested.

I recently saw some Sci-Fi shorts made by some Nigerian kids using some really interesting hacks to work around their economic and resource constraints. They were primarily inspired by watching other shorts, and learnt how to do video-editing etc from Youtube videos. I think banning anything that you consider "wasteful" isn't productive.

> Educating people so they have questions to ask, or things to produce, or knowledge to acquire.

Maybe you didn't mean to but this sounds rather patronising. Also, they were acquiring knowledge, just not knowledge that you wanted them to acquire.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
GiveInternet.org allows anyone to sponsor monthly Internet fees and laptops for underprivileged high school students from refugee settlements and rural areas.

Through monthly recurring donations from up to 700 individuals, we have equipped 350+ students with Chromebooks, Internet access, educational resources and our constant online mentorship. Our donors receive monthly transparency reports with details on every cost, student success stories, and our progress. Now we are working to incorporate a 501(c)3 nonprofit in the US and expand operations to the Middle East and Africa by collaborating with partners on the ground.

As we expand and refine our product, we need your honest feedback on our platform! Let us know what you think about the website, our business model, etc.

How?

Comment here; Fill out this 3-5 minute survey - http://bit.ly/2P3wDj6 Schedule a call with us for an interview-https://calendly.com/gjibladze/giveInternet

Aaronstotle 29 days ago [-]
I think this is an amazing project but isn't there a better alternative to chromebooks?

Maybe used laptops, can usually get leased business laptops for a similar price, and they don't actively spy you at all times.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
We've started with the used ones, but used devices need maintenance all the time. And the operations became very inefficient. So we switched to the new Chromebooks because they were cheap, fast, virus-free, battery lifetime. Sometimes we still collect used business laptops from trusted supporters like EY for example, who replace their devices once in 2 years
Tempest1981 29 days ago [-]
Can't you run Linux on a Chromebook? Not sure if it has problems.

https://itsfoss.com/install-linux-chromebook/

jibla 28 days ago [-]
Thanks for the link. I don't remember we've tried this
Tempest1981 28 days ago [-]
Note that Chromebooks have a different keyboard, so you may want to rebind a few things. https://wiki.galliumos.org/Media_keys_and_default_keybinding...

Chromebooks have a "Search" key instead of CAPS lock, and the F1..F10 keys are Back, Forward, Reload, Full screen, Switch Window, Brightness Up, Brightness Down, Mute, Volume Down, Volume Up. F11 and F12 might use Search with + and -

420codebro 29 days ago [-]
Good work - Sounds like a great project.
qwerty456127 29 days ago [-]
We probably should analyse the way it's done in India: ultra-cheap mobile Internet (how do they manage to both provide the coverage and sustain such low prices?) and budget-class devices. There has even been a post about the new class of cheap phones which are more like those of the pre-iPhone era. I believe giving everybody access to YouTube, Reddit and Wikipedia is important.
tguvot 29 days ago [-]
I guess when you talk about India you mainly talk about Jio. They are founded by Reliance Industries which is largest publicly traded company there. Most of the network rollout and phone prices (nobody knows real BOM for their phones) are subsidized and the general business plan seems to be to make money from value added services that can be obtained from Jio in the future.

Also to make rollout cheaper they negotiated some exclusive deals with Samsung; wrote their own operational support systems instead of buying off the shelf ( very expensive for deployment and integration) and probably did a whole bunch of other stuff.

It's not something that can be repeated without having large sums of money to support it

sumedh 29 days ago [-]
> how do they manage to both provide the coverage and sustain such low prices?

Have another business segment which makes lot of money and also use lot of debt.

Reliance Jio's parent company Reliance is a big player in oil refining.

russdpale 28 days ago [-]
Wikipedia ok, but Youtube and Reddit? Are you kidding? Thought you were going to say something useful like wolfram alpha.

Youtube is full of conspiracy theories and reddit seems to be catering itself to white supremacy. Definitely not paragons of good or ethical internet companies.

brownbat 29 days ago [-]
I really like the idea of transparent charities helping spread access to information.

The most difficult challenge will be demonstrating effectiveness relative to other charities operating near this space. Computer Aid International focuses on refurbishing used computers and providing them to those living at income levels 1 or 2, spending only around $42 per recipient. Room to Read specializes in building low cost libraries and schools, serving communities at a cost of $5 or $25 per child respectively, and they are really highly rated on transparency and effectiveness.

I think you can justify the focus on Internet and Georgia, but I think you should be mindful of where the bar is set and aggressively try to push towards that. That might involve some hard choices, like whether Chromebooks can help as many students as lower cost options.

Emphasizing that donors choose how much is allocated to administrative costs seems like another odd choice to me. If you are serious about that, then you could get in an unstable situation. Donors could easily have unsustainable preferences here, because they generally lack experience running charities.

If you're just trying to convince donors that you are not wasting their money, I'd focus instead on independent audits on effectiveness. Then be vocal when you make hard choices about expenses, like through a blog of some kind, so you can show you're trying to save money where possible, and trying to spend money in ways that will maximize your impact.

Spreading access to information can be incredibly powerful, so I hope you find a way for your program to take off, thanks for taking on this challenge.

jibla 28 days ago [-]
Hey, thanks for the great feedback. - We've tried used laptops. In the short run, they might work, but the maintenance of the used ones is very hard & expensive in the long run. The initial cost might be around 42 USD, but overall we might end up with a much higher cost. But still, we're always looking for more effective ways. - The problem is so big, there are many untapped geographies. We might even consider working with Computer Aid on this. They might become our partners in some regions. - Since every donor is choosing how much to give for the operations & innovation we don't see any problem. It's almost the same as tips, which are widely practiced by many charities. Though you're right we have to be conscious about it. The average at the moment is 17% - Independent audit is a good idea. We are talking to EY and BDO about it. So that they could run/approve our transparency. - The blog to reveal hard choices is a wonderful idea. Thanks a lot!
dannykwells 29 days ago [-]
Why is this something that requires a non-profit to do? Facebook, Google and Amazon are desperate to get more eyeballs and clicks on their apps. Giving some one a Chromebook feels like just donating money to those companies...who definitely don't need it.

Why should we, ordinary citizens contribute to this company? And have you brought it to Google and Facebook for sponsorship? Would you accept $$$ from them if they offered it?

rory096 29 days ago [-]
>Why is this something that requires a non-profit to do? Facebook, Google and Amazon are desperate to get more eyeballs and clicks on their apps.

Facebook tried something along these lines in India. It did not go well.

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/02/net-n...

jibla 29 days ago [-]
Thanks for your feedback. We are also thinking about it a lot. What would make us grow faster a nonprofit or a forprofit? We just thought that people would donate only to a nonprofit and were also a bit afraid to switch to for-profit. Don't even know yet, how to test it. Now, this comment shook my mind again;)
Waterluvian 29 days ago [-]
Yeah I think this is where regulation might be the right tool.

Facebook: "well I want to give out FaceBooks that an only access our websites, but I'll settle for more eyeballs on the ads even if they use the devices to surf the web too."

monocasa 29 days ago [-]
Facebook was provided exactly that trade-off in India, and pulled out.
adammunich 29 days ago [-]
I would recommend meeting up with the SudoMesh folks in Oakland if you are nearby, they get together every Tuesday. Though, probably better to do after CCCamp wraps up.

https://sudoroom.org/wiki/Mesh

jibla 28 days ago [-]
Will reach them out. Thanks
yorwba 29 days ago [-]
If the aim is to provide internet access to as many people as possible, wouldn't a cheap phone running Android Go or KaiOS be a more efficient use of the money? Any particular reason you went with Chromebooks instead?
mjevans 29 days ago [-]
My guess as a bystander is that I treat my phone as a media consumption device. Having a fullsized keyboard and at least a "page" of glass seems to be the line to cross for the creation of meaningful content. IE to participate in nuanced discussions rather than narrow focused replies or even just up/down votes (more like a mob mentality).
jibla 29 days ago [-]
Agree. This is exactly the main argument of educators in favor of bigger screens and keyboard. Although Chromebooks still lack features for creation (not possible to install some software), students can still create everything that can be done on cloud-based platforms.
jibla 29 days ago [-]
First, we started with the used ones, but the maintenance of used devices was a disaster. Chromebooks were cheap, fast, virus-free and with bigger screens (More convenient for education) We buy them from 150-180 USD per unit. But this doesn't mean we' always go with Chromebooks. We always consider any other solutions based on the need of the project
djd20 28 days ago [-]
Makes sense - are you aware of the https://www.pine64.org/pinebook/ (99 USD) project? They have units that are shipping and are open source friendly/more hackable and can run chromeOS as well.
jibla 28 days ago [-]
No, haven't heard about them until now. Will get in touch. Thanks
t0astbread 29 days ago [-]
Are Chromebooks really that much cheaper than "regular" Windows or OS-less Laptops? If so, why?
PopeDotNinja 29 days ago [-]
I bought a regular Windows laptop for a homeless person almost 10 years ago, and have done some tutoring for low income folks. Most of them were not computer savvy. The also had a tendency to lose their laptops, lots of theft. My personal experience tells me that whatever solution gets picked, the easier it is to use and replace the computer, the more sustainable it will be.
jibla 29 days ago [-]
Good point. Btw regarding the theft issue, the laptops stay on a nonprofit balance (or a local partner balance). Which means that families are not the owners. They sign a document of so-called "temporary usage agreement". In reality, we leave those devices to the families forever but they don't know about it. Since the document is legally binding they still avoid selling them.
toast0 29 days ago [-]
Chromebooks are mass produced devices with a free operating system. This usually makes them cheaper than windows laptops, and the scale makes them cheaper than laptops without an OS.

I think the OS choice also reduces the hardware cost a little bit -- at least windows laptops usually have a bit more hardware to support more standard interfaces. Some of the Chromebooks have i2c keyboards, which I don't think passes WHQL standards, but must be a little less expensive; the ssds are tiny, and sometimes mmc which is slower, but less expensive; the keyboard have fewer buttons which reduces cost a smidge too.

But, more importantly than the hardware cost, Chrome OS is easier than Windows for a novice to manage -- updates are less intrusive, just reboot when it asks and wait about 10 seconds to be ready to work again. There's not as much to mess up, and when you do, it's usually easy to get back to factory fresh.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
They are cheaper mainly because the Chrome OS is Free (and maybe because they have almost no hard inside;) As far as we know OS and antivirus licenses make Windows more expensive.
zrm 29 days ago [-]
That explains why they're cheaper than Windows, but what makes them cheaper than equivalent hardware with e.g. Ubuntu?
jibla 29 days ago [-]
Right. We have tested Ubuntu as well. Still figuring out what the right solutions are. Do you think Ubuntu might be a better option? Or are there any other solutions that might be relevant for us?
jzemeocala 29 days ago [-]
I would personally recommend ubuntu. It's also free and unlikely to get viruses. Plus, In my experience from helping the elderly and other computer illiterates get connected, it often has a much gentler learning curve.The main hurdle then would be to find the cheap hardware with decent compatibility (perhaps a cheap 2 in 1).

Also, you should consider approaching canonical about sponsorship. Considering their relationship with amazon there has to be some funding to be found there.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
Got it! Will definitely consider Ubuntu and approach Canonical. Thanks a lot!
t0astbread 29 days ago [-]
Yeah but I'm wondering why Google is giving out ChromeOS at (presumably) no cost to hardware vendors. That means they must make their money from the customer somehow through e.g. extensive tracking.
jibla 29 days ago [-]
Sure, that's why one of the options we consider might be Ubuntu. Chromebooks were fast and cheap solutions to start with.
t0astbread 29 days ago [-]
Alright, that makes sense!
devwastaken 29 days ago [-]
If you're targeting those in countries with less freedom, you will want to be careful about pictures and names. A woman trying to get an education in afghanistan is life or death.
jibla 29 days ago [-]
Agree. Good point! We had the same issue in Georgia in a village with a Muslim minority population. We try to be very careful when it comes to the privacy issue. We have signed documents of the family members giving us the rights to use photos on the website. Not everybody agrees. And we never use family names.
hairytrog 29 days ago [-]
Maybe tech companies would contribute based on the extra money they can make. If Google can earn $5 for each additional user, they should be willing to pay 4.99 to create new users.
jibla 29 days ago [-]
Good talking point! Will keep in mind, thanks
tguvot 29 days ago [-]
Gamarjoba,

I think what you are doing is very important thing but it's not scalable to 2.5b people.

The biggest problem for those 2.5b people are:

- Availability of network infrastructure. It starts with whatever network backbone and ends with either mobile internet or wifi network. In most cases there is no business case to build out this kind of infrastructure as there is essentially no way to recover investment unless its subsidized by government or world bank or something.

- Availability of electricity. There is many place that simply has none or it's very unreliable. It has twofold influence - its hard to build infrastructure that will work and people have no place to charge phones/laptops

- The actual price of devices. Even if you are talking about advanced feature phones or low end smart phones (laptops are way out of price range for most of 2.5b people) its still expensive. There is all kind of schemes with operators subsidizing the device over few years but it's bring arpu to very low numbers making it hardly viable business.

Edit. I actually lived in Georgia during the "fun" time, late 80s - early 90s. Good luck.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
Gamarjoba:) We've researched this issue thoroughly and the infrastructure is not an issue. While 50% of the world's population lacks internet access only 15% live out of the coverage area of 3/4 G networks. This is actually where the number 2.5 Bn comes from. The main challenge is the affordability of monthly internet fees and of course devices. We actually solve both problems by providing devices and an internet connection.

Electricity might be an issue in some areas but according to our assumptions, more than 160 million secondary students in low and low-middle income countries live in cities and areas where electricity is not an issue.

Btw by working with the local communities, providing resources, training and constant assistance, we also seem to encourage them to see the relevance of an Internet connection. We hope to prove that most of our beneficiaries will be willing to continue paying for their Internet fees long after we have stopped paying for them. According to preliminary studies most of the families are ready to reprioritize their costs and maintain an internet connection.

The "Fun" times you mentioned is one of the reasons why we've started GiveInternet.org since we have experienced first-hand the transformational power of connectivity in improving people's lives.

tguvot 29 days ago [-]
I'll disagree. I worked previously "somewhere" that had yearly budget of tens of millions of dollars in order to tackle this specific issue - bringing internet to people that do not have it. We had extremely good data, most of which not available publicly; dozen(s) of people working solely on identifying scope of problem while other people trying to come up with solutions.

I don't have the data anymore so I can argue with you on exact numbers , but even when you are talking about 3/4g networks, in most of the cases it will be 3g and rolling out 4g is too expensive and backbone wont have enough capacity to serve all the people that are lacking access.

>Electricity might be an issue in some areas but according to our assumptions, more than 160 million secondary students in low and low-middle income countries live in cities and areas where electricity is not an issue.

You cant really just buy enough hardware for everyone. It doesn't work well on scale. See one laptop per child.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
I understand and maybe 2.5 Bn might be under question.

But lets just to narrow it down to one country - US. One of the worlds strongest economy. Only in the US more than 3 million families with school-aged children can't afford internet connection (Sprint claims it's 5 Mio families) That's why these programs exist: http://1millionproject.org/, https://www.internetessentials.com/, https://www.fcc.gov/general/lifeline-program-low-income-cons...

Now imagine other countries and cities even developed ones. Not talking about developing countries. Btw 160 million secoindary students which I mentioned exclude rural areas, only those who live in urban areas.

Regarding the devices, I agree that might be challenging but the prices for devices are decreasing dramatically. Plus some models of monthly installments can make it plus 5-10 USD to monthly internet fees, which is pretty acceptable. So we believe in the long run the device problem is also solvable.

tguvot 29 days ago [-]
I actually live in US now. It's complicated over here. There are numbers that are talking about 20% of so that either cant afford or dont have in general access due to absence of infrastructure.

Will play devils advocate a bit: there is a lot of projects that attempt sponsoring model. Why one should choose yours over, lets say, this one https://www.worldvision.org/sponsor-a-child-in-africa .

vkaku 28 days ago [-]
Your solution to what? To People who don't need an Internet but have other important issues to deal with? You're hoping that by putting them on the Internet you're going to create a new market?

I don't understand the point of this. I thought the people who cared about being on the Internet already were.

mycall 28 days ago [-]
if "IoT/Robot/AI" or whatever it becomes can adapt to their needs, the people who don't need the internet, maybe there is a market there.
vkaku 28 days ago [-]
Well, this is the general idea:

People can either afford the Internet or not. If they can't afford it, there are good chances they can't afford to pay any other bills.

These people are usually not in developing countries, but the developed ones. The developed ones where no amount of government laws can bring affordable Internet to the public, nor any places with free WiFi nor good libraries with free browsing facilities.

So clearly, there is something bigger at play, and it is about artificially pricing people out of a market being the ultimate goal.

The people who do really need to be on the Internet in such a society would have already worked their way around it. And if not, they have other issues to take care of before they go to artificially high priced internet.

jibla 28 days ago [-]
Sure there are more important things to solve for so many families, but In the modern world, we can skip on gradually solving basic needs. We can and should leapfrog. Furthermore, we believe that internet access and access to information can play a catalyst role in solving those problems. Today we take the internet for granted, but it's luxury for so many people. It is a commodity like water and electricity.

One thing is, what we think people need and another is what they really need. It will be more relevant to use so-called LSM's - Lifestyle measures while evaluating the importance of the internet. That said how do we explain the resident of the village with no clean drinking water, buying a cell phone or kitchen appliance? or a mother paying for her son's education tutoring, even when she goes hungry? A farmer investing in cattle before improving his house? These are all facts and I am sure many of us have heard these stories. One thing is what we perceive and another is what people really need.

Btw by working with the local communities, providing resources, training and constant assistance, we also seem to encourage them to see the relevance of an Internet connection. We hope to prove that most of our beneficiaries will be willing to continue paying for their Internet fees long after we have stopped paying for them. According to preliminary studies most of the families are ready to reprioritize their costs and maintain an internet connection. Because of the high price barrier, they couldn't afford the internet and now since they understand its role in their lives and its relevance, their priorities have changed.

vkaku 28 days ago [-]
Okay, what is the first thing the poor families should be doing after getting the said internet connection?

Is the answer - job opportunities, free education, survival skills? The truth is that the internet does provide these, but how many of them actually use it?

jibla 27 days ago [-]
What we can say from our experience of working with poor students, is that they are no different from those kids around us. Contrary to popular belief, the underprivileged accept advanced technology as readily as we do.

Young people adopt technology easily and use it the same way their peers in wealthy countries and sometimes even more consciously because their problems are much different from the first world ones. They use it to serve their basic needs, but also it becomes a window to the world and opportunities for them - a chance. Internet helps them discover their interests and passions, trying things out and learn about new professions they've never heard about.

Anyway, it is better to be connected in today's world, than not. Why? because of the same reasons why none of us here on HN would give up their connection.

capex 29 days ago [-]
Not sure about how it actually works. I couldn't find the information around how you actually 'give' internet to people? Do they use their own device, or do you provide a device as well? What happens when the funding for someone runs out?
jibla 29 days ago [-]
We work with the local ISP's and small Wifi operators. After installation families provide their subscriber codes and we set automatic transactions to those codes.

Yes we also provide devices which are funded either by individuals (via online donations) or corporate sponsors

First, we wanted donors to choose a student (according to their profiles) but this led to many challenges including the one you mentioned. So now donors can see profiles of every student waiting but they usually donate to the platform. We don't have one time donations. only monthly donations.

But still, we are at the MVP stage and figuring out what the right models could be.

microcolonel 29 days ago [-]
Make internet access cheaper by operating an efficient internet service provider, which can afford to offer access to the internet at a rate that more people can afford, in the places where it currently is too expensive.
jibla 29 days ago [-]
At the moment we work with local ISP's and Wifi operators who offer free installations and in some areas discounts on a monthly fee.

Btw on Wifi operators is willing to deploy infrastructure in areas where they considered not profitable before. As part of our partnership in September, they launch a new base station in a rural area of Georgia.

jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
> We believe that Internet access is a human right.

I disagree with this. This doesn't event make sense [EDIT: to me]. The internet is simply a very large network of private systems. You don't have a right to access this network, nor do you have a right to force someone to join this network.

If your "human rights" can be negated by the power going out, they are quite weak.

I am being nit-picky, but I just don't like this marketing tactic.

rhacker 29 days ago [-]
> You don't have a right to access this network, nor do you have a right to force someone to join this network.

While I am a hypocrite to suggest this, your statement does come off "god-like" (because I am also doing that here). They are stating a widely held belief that many people agree with.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_Internet_access

> If your "human rights" can be negated by the power going out, they are quite weak.

If that's the case then ALL human rights are "quite weak" - whether it is the power going out or a bullet in a brain - effectively all human rights are terminatable. I don't know why suggesting a human right and someone's ability to "negate" it would be related concepts.

Also, I don't think anyone said anything about forcing someone onto this network.

jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
> They are stating a widely held belief that many people agree with.

Your reference material has a section titled Critiques of the human right to Internet access.

> If that's the case then ALL human rights are "quite weak"

I believe the issue you bring up is mostly around peoples differing opinion on what a human right is, so I don't exactly disagree with you. I mostly have an issue with this new theme of everything being a "human right". At some point it will be a "human right" to own a Lamborghini and have someone feed me grapes while I lay by a pool (kinda sarcasm).

> B) I don't think anyone said anything about forcing someone onto this network.

If everyone left the network, then it would not exist. Therefore, a human right to the internet requires that people maintain the network.

rhacker 29 days ago [-]
> Your reference material has a section titled Critiques of the human right to Internet access.

It also says 83% of the population generally agrees that it should be a right - which is why I said it was widely held. I didn't say it was an absolutely held belief.

> I believe the issue you bring up is mostly around peoples differing opinion on what a human right is, so I don't exactly disagree with you. I mostly have an issue with this new theme of everything being a "human right". At some point it will be a "human right" to own a Lamborghini and have someone feed me grapes while I lay by a pool (kinda sarcasm).

I'm not here to argue rights like lambos and grapes at the pool. To put internet access in that category is quite honestly disheartening. Having or NOT having internet access these days quite literally be the difference causing someone to lose a house, not get a job, not find legal help, be unaware of a disaster - this is not heard to imagine. I just can't put it in the category of grapes at the pool.

jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
> be the difference causing someone to lose a house, not get a job, not find legal help, be unaware of a disaster

All of these problems can be solved without the internet. Also, access to the internet does not absolutely solve these problems.

29 days ago [-]
rhacker 29 days ago [-]
But it does help, right?

I can say the same thing about wearing clothes (human right to have clothing) - I can get a job, not lose a house, find legal help, and be aware of a disaster if I was completely butt naked all the time. So you're argument is that because you CAN get through it, it's not necessary to call it a human right? Also owning clothes doesn't absolutely solve those problems either right?

jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
@rhacker

I don't think its a human right to have clothes though. I don't think anyone should be able to steal your clothes, but I don't think anyone should have to give you clothes either..

rhacker 29 days ago [-]
> I don't think its a human right to have clothes though. I don't think anyone should be able to steal your clothes, but I don't think anyone should have to give you clothes either..

To think that a "human right to have clothes" means your clothes will be stolen or you will be forced to give clothes is pretty strange. If you are a developer lead at Apple I assume you pay taxes? Those Taxes are fundamentally supporting lots of initiatives like, giving homeless people clothes, food, housing.

https://datalab.usaspending.gov/homelessness-analysis.html

I'm going to take a quick guess that you don't think humans should have "any" rights?

I could be wrong. If you enlighten me on what human rights you DO believe in, I can walk you through my argument a lot better.

jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
Maybe I am strange lol
freehunter 29 days ago [-]
>If your "human rights" can be negated by the power going out, they are quite weak.

That's a pretty weak argument. If the power goes out due to a storm, no one is depriving you of your human rights. If the power is cut with the explicit purpose of denying you access to the Internet, that's a different story. The intention behind the statement "Internet access is a human right" is that governments should not have the right to disconnect Internet service in order to oppress their population. It has nothing to do with forcing someone to use the Internet or making sure it's always available no matter what.

Actually I think the entire comment is weak... the Internet is not "a network of private systems", there are plenty of publicly-owned websites. Government websites are just one example, and these government websites contain information of vital importance for many people (like laws, for example).

No one can force anyone into exercising any of their human rights... I have the right to be happy but if I'm not, no one will force me to be happy. I have the right to life, but I'm not arrested if I die. I have the right to freedom of movement, but I'm currently sitting still and the police are nowhere to be found. Human rights aren't things people must do, they're things governments must allow the people to do.

I wouldn't categorize this comment as "nit-picky". I'd categorize it as completely and fundamentally wrong.

jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
> Human rights aren't things people must do, they're things governments must allow the people to do.

I agree with you. I think people should be allowed to access the internet. That is different from forcing the government to give everyone a network connected computer [one example].

> Actually I think the entire comment is weak... the Internet is not "a network of private systems", ...

My point here being that the internet is just a large network. I don't have access to the internal network of a company I do not work for, and I don't think I have a human right to that network. If I get blocked by FB/Twitter/[any site/network] have my "human rights" been taken away? I don't believe so.

freehunter 28 days ago [-]
>If I get blocked by FB/Twitter/[any site/network] have my "human rights" been taken away?

That's not what "Internet as a human right" means though. It doesn't govern what private companies do. Facebook banning you from their site is not a violation of your human rights. Syria shutting down Internet access nationwide to keep protestors from communicating is a violation of human rights.

>That is different from forcing the government to give everyone a network connected computer

No one has ever conflated "Internet as a human right" with "governments must give everyone a free computer". Just like "the right to work" as a human right doesn't mean the government has to give you a job. They just can't prevent you from accessing your job, and they can't prevent you from access the Internet.

monocasa 29 days ago [-]
Everyone here has access to the court system as a human right, but you better believe the courthouse will be closed if the power goes out too.
jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
Do you not think there were trials before the invention of electricity?
monocasa 29 days ago [-]
I think that access to fair trials requires infrastructural support, just like access to the Internet does. In both cases infrastructural glitches can temporarily remove access, but declaring them a human right means a focus on making those glitches temporary particularly for the most vulnerable members of our society, among other things.
jibla 29 days ago [-]
Does it make more sense if we formulate it as "access to information" and not "Internet access"?
jteppinette 29 days ago [-]
"We believe that everyone should have access to the internet."
29 days ago [-]
mruts 29 days ago [-]
How about just: "We think that access to the internet for everyone is a good thing."
maxheadroom 28 days ago [-]
Some links on your site are directed to the vanity 'charte.ge' but are still branded with 'giveinternet.org'. An example would be the 'Meet our team' link on this page: https://giveinternet.org/en/faq

Perhaps, this was a previous project name and the links haven't been fixed?

jibla 28 days ago [-]
Oops, thanks. Will fix it.
lacker 29 days ago [-]
It says that you spend $7 a month to give people internet, and that you are giving internet access to 350 students. So, you are giving about $2,000 a month of value to students? It doesn't seem like this is a cost-effective charity if you have even a single employee. I think you would be better off giving the underprivileged people money directly, and letting them purchase their own internet access.
reallydude 29 days ago [-]
> So, you are giving about $2,000 a month of value to students?

I would think access to the internet is worth more than that. There's some implicit assumptions making with the conversion to dollars that make me think it isn't that simple.

eg > 49 students are now equipped with laptops, Internet access and online courses. Our partner Georgian Airlink, a local Wifi operator, covered the end-user device installation costs while our online donors sponsor the monthly Internet fees.

To have access, you need a stable living location, with say...wiring or a working wifi access point. You know, a place with a mailbox for a bill or equivalent. Schools are a decent proxy, where there are schools. You need to have a device to access it and of course, a nontrivial amount of knowledge to safekeep/operate these fundamental requirements within poverty conditions.

Ever seen someone brick an ethernet card trying to jam in a phone line? It happens, even with a 20-something that has had a smartphone almost their entire life. So maybe some stewardship is needed.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
At the moment we are bootstrapping and co-founders work for free, but we hope to become more effective after we reach some scale. We need to keep our team running not only to pay for the internet but for students identification (Working with schools and NGO's), Donor growth, community building, partner relations (ISP's and local Edtech partners who provide their services to our students for free) impact measurement, etc. At the moment a couple of corporate donors are covering those costs. I am not sure if I've answered your question
Tempest1981 29 days ago [-]
Why start with the students, instead of the 9/10 schools that lack internet access?

(From your website: "In the poorest countries, only 1 out of every 10 students has Internet access at school.")

jibla 29 days ago [-]
According to educators and researchers, there is a huge difference whether a student has access to the internet at home or in a public place where access is limited. In terms of creativity having internet access whenever you need it and how long you need it makes a meaningful difference. But this doesn't mean we only provide students with access. Sometimes we have projects where we connect educational community centers.
Tempest1981 29 days ago [-]
Thanks. Although I suspect more people might donate if they felt their donation helped 100 kids at a school, vs 1 kid at home. The "huge difference" might not be obvious, and I don't think it was in your FAQ.

It might be a fun experiment to let donors choose either school or individual.

jibla 28 days ago [-]
Although the studies show that people are more willing to give to a certain person (the story behind her/him) rather than a group. But yes, might be still worth testing. Thanks
badrabbit 29 days ago [-]
The west had the same mindset with democracy.

What works in one society may not be best in others. I think countries should organically grow their information infrastructure in parallel with their physical infrastructure and economy.

That being said,China's belt road initiative is also building out internet infrastructure along the belt road's route.

commandersaki 28 days ago [-]
You asked for an opinion, so here it is...

Schools don’t need computers or Internet to provide a breadth of education. I don’t know if computer literacy should even be taught in schools considering there’s so many different kinds of computers and they keep changing.

jibla 28 days ago [-]
We never target children at an early age. We focus only on High school-school age students, who need it most. As soon as we connect a student the whole family gets access to the internet. It becomes a family thing. You should see high-school students (age 16-18) living in refugee settlements and rural areas. They almost don't have access to any kind of education and information. No link to the worlds. Because of that, they have such a limited worldview. Internet helps them discover their interests and passions, trying things out and learn about new professions they've never heard about. Also, we run online mentorship programs to teach them how to use the internet in a proper way. (Here is the copy of my recent reply to another comment: Besides connecting students, we run an online mentorship program via Chat, online groups, sometimes phone/ video calls. First Students receive a link with a "welcome package"-list of most popular and relevant educational platforms which are available in the local language. We also partner with the local EdTech partners who provide their services for free for our students, so if anyone is interested in any platform we teach them how to use it and provide free access. We are also long term partners with Khan Academy and Code.org and actively promote these platforms to the students.

On a weekly basis, we post in an online group different educational content, free offers from our partners and education organizations who provide their courses for free (both online and offline), we post different scholarship opportunities, fellowships, programs, etc.

We plan to provide tailor-made educational content separately to each student according to their interests and challenges. Also thinking to test different models.)

WheelsAtLarge 29 days ago [-]
The idea of giving is good but it is very hard to substain it over time. Pleople want to give but not in a constant basis and eventually stop. A better model is to join a profit basses organization with a nonprofit and work together to give.
mmsimanga 29 days ago [-]
I agree with you. As an African there is also another danger to receiving things, you stop working for them. You begin to expect these things as part of your life but in reality they only exist for as long as those giving have enough money or generosity. I am not saying people shouldn't give but it is a good idea to be aware of some of the long term effects of giving and being a receiver.
jibla 29 days ago [-]
I also think we should be conscious in giving. but as Chinese proverb says: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

So we think that by giving internet connection we don't just give certain things. We try to bring an environment where people can find their passions and interests, discover professions, try out things, leave and try another, acquire relevant information, etc. Internet might be a huge step towards equality of opportunity.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
Btw it turned out that the Millenials and younger are very much willing to donate to this cause and they do it on a monthly basis since they understand that internet is monthly cost. The cause somehow resonates with them. We are trying to build a community of our donors by building the long term experience (Monthly transparency reports with all the cost breakdowns, student success stories, new geographies, bank account transactions, etc.) But the challenge you've mentioned is something we are still thinking about and are ready to experiment to find the right model.
russdpale 28 days ago [-]
Look at where money is parked around the world, and you have your answer.
fmajid 29 days ago [-]
Do you have plans to cover elsewhere than Georgia?

Terms like “Russian occupation” are loaded. The Abkhaz certainly don’t feel Georgian, and it was Saakachvili who shelled them first (albeit after a string of Russian provocations).

jibla 29 days ago [-]
Yes, we do plan to expand in the middle east and African countries by partnering with the partners on the ground.

Regarding the political issue, I'd rather don't step into these discussions as this thread has another purpose. The fact is Georgia has 250K IDP's (Internally displaced people) in the country not able to go back to their homes.

tryitnow 29 days ago [-]
Improve the global economy especially through more free trade and more migration. That will help more people afford everything, not just the internet.

There's other solutions too, like reducing corruption and cost of doing business in developing countries. But there's little westerners can do to implement those solutions. Trade and immigration are things western nations have control over.

6DM 29 days ago [-]
In this era, I am no longer convinced that the internet is such a good thing.
programminggeek 29 days ago [-]
Better idea... give out AOL CD's.
qwerty456127 29 days ago [-]
aaron695 29 days ago [-]
Don't do anything the failed OLPC did!

Use closed source as much as possible.

Beware the sirens that sell open source. They are not on your side.

dolomites 29 days ago [-]
In a world were people can't afford health care your problen is giving them internet... Ridiculous.
hairytrog 29 days ago [-]
You might be starting with the wrong question. You are assuming internet access is a good thing and that extending its supply will be best for everyone. Consider the following:

- the internet makes people dumber (low attention spans, group think, advertising driven content, addictive behaviors promoted, etc)

- the internet makes us consumers instead of creators

- the internet makes people depressed and anxious

- the internet causes around 5% of global GHG emissions

- internet enhances ability for total monitoring and censoring of speech

- internet creates centralized global tech monopolies on information flow and data

- extensive global networks put society at increased risk of total collapse

What are the benefits and do they really outweigh the negatives? Can the benefits be accomplished through other means? Just make sure you're comfortable with possibly making people's lives worse.

DoreenMichele 29 days ago [-]
What are the benefits

The LGBTQ crowd is benefiting tremendously from online dating.

People with weird health issues are benefiting tremendously from the ability to do research and safely talk to others with their condition, something that would be difficult or impossible to arrange and potentially quite dangerous to do in person due to cross contamination issues.

I'm not going to sit here and try to point-by-point rebut your points, but, man, what a gloomy, glass-half-empty point of view. There is zero attempt at all to be even-handed about it.

jibla 29 days ago [-]
Do you think we, those who are connected, should give up our internet connections? If not should we leave the rest of the world's population without it?
hairytrog 29 days ago [-]
No. I'm addicted.
dmix 29 days ago [-]
The mechanical knitting machine will take all of our jobs and we'll be unemployed. Lets break the machines in protest and go back to handlooms!