GIGA is the UNICEF / ITU project to connect every school on the planet to the internet. It is a big task: there are likely about two million schools still unconnected.GIGA has provided a recent update on current efforts. Highlights include:
- 9 of 11 states in the Eastern Caribbean (OECS) are now fully connected.
- Active programs mapping school connectivity are underway in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.
- Kazakhstan is taking the lead in Central Asia programs, including integrating over 10,000 schools into GIGA global mapping platform.
- GIGA is moving forward with mapping, connectivity, content and finance programs in many countries, with current priority on Kenya, Niger, Sierra Leone, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, El Salvador, Honduras, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent.
Simultaneously, the large tech firms are making progress in connectivity issues. Loon is now operating commercially in Kenya and Peru and seeks to scale. SpaceX has announced initial commercial services in the US at the end of 2020, with global service offerings in 2021. There are many open questions around services and costs from Loon, SpaceX and others, but major infrastructure is being built.
Under ideal circumstances increased connectivity through new services and GIGA’s comprehensive schools database can lead to rapid extension of school connectivity over the next few years.