EIFL has signed a call for urgent action to ensure that every community has access to at least one free, publicly-available, adequately connected internet access point.
The call was initiated by the Partnership for Public Access (P4PA). It coincides with the World Bank Annual Meeting on Closing the Digital Divide that takes place online today from 10-11am ET / 14:00-15:00 GMT.
“The global health crisis has made the pre-existing global connectivity crisis more evident – and action more urgent – than ever before. Broadband access is critical to the health, safety, education and economic well-being of communities. Public Access is proven to be an economical and equitable way to connect every community,” the call states.
Today, just over half of the world’s approximately eight billion people are using the internet. Signatories to the call have pledged to do everything within their power to ensure that every community is connected, and are calling on decision-makers at all levels to take action in response to the COVID-19 crisis by accelerating internet connectivity in communities, including free public access in local libraries.
Public libraries - trusted institutions, staffed by skilled information professionals - are uniquely placed to provide public access to information and communication technology and to train people to use it.
The EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme (EIFL-PLIP) advocates for equipping of public libraries with computers and internet connections for free public use.