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For around half of the world’s population, Internet connectivity is not a reality. Often, this is simply because there are no cables, or a good enough mobile signal, where they live. Cut off from information about jobs, education or healthcare, the lack of access risks compounding their marginalisation.

A summit in Tempe, Arizona (United States) last month focused on the potential of ‘offline Internet’ – initiatives that bring the benefits of connectivity to those who do not have it – and how to ensure greater synergies between existing initiatives.  The summit was organised by Arizona State University and Internet Sans Frontières with the support of IFLA.

As a guide for this work, the summit agreed on the principle that access to the information commons must be recognised as a fundamental human right. Participants underlined that it is through working together on standards, tools and practical projects that those currently without Internet can be best served.

The group will now look to establish structures, goals and take the first steps towards achieving the objectives set out. The organisers welcome other organisations which can contribute to ensuring that no-one is deprived of access to information for want of a connection.

Download the declaration as a PDF