This past Monday, June 20, we celebrated World Wi-Fi Day, but what exactly is it, and where did it come from?
World Wi-Fi Day is a global event orchestrated by the Wireless Broadband Alliance that shines a light on the many communities and cities worldwide that remain without Wi-Fi access. Wi-Fi is a vital service that keeps economies moving, and by working to address the digital divide, The WBA hopes to bring governments and companies together to close the gap.
Why is Access to Wi-Fi Important?
The advancement of Wi-Fi has improved the quality of everyday life. Although people have operated without Wi-Fi for decades, almost everything has shifted to online spaces such as media, banking, shopping, and much more. Now more than ever, people need reliable access to the internet to do their jobs, attend school, or work on homework. Without access to the internet, people’s ability to learn, grow, and thrive is extremely limited. Only 55% of households worldwide have internet, while 80% of households in many developing nations do not have internet access.
Wi-Fi is often seen as a luxury when it should be treated as a commodity to be easily accessible; it can have tremendous social, economic, and environmental impacts. During the Covid pandemic, the reliance on global Wi-Fi increased as people shifted to working from home, doctors’ appointments were held digitally, and online schooling became the only way children could receive an education safely. More importantly, it casts a light on those without convenient access to Wi-Fi and their challenges.
While governments and corporations created initiatives to help connect people worldwide by providing free services and devices, these initiatives were to provide temporary relief. The HOPE for Connectivity, organized by the Wireless Broadband Alliance under the leadership of the Connected City Advisory Board, aims to connect local government, vendors, the internet, and tech companies in extending these efforts.
HOPE for Connectivity How to Get Involved
The HOPE for Connectivity calls for action from local government and industry leaders to recognize and celebrate Wi-Fi’s role in advancing our society. The goal is to accelerate the availability of affordable connectivity for those who remain unconnected. There are four critical themes rooted in the WBA’s vision for World Wi-Fi Day:
- Help: funding Wi-Fi deployments to connect the unconnected communities
- Offer: affordable Wi-Fi access in both rural and urban areas
- Promote: how Wi-Fi has been successful in connecting cities and communities
- Engage: and address the role of Wi-Fi in the digital divide
The first World Wi-Fi Day was held on June 20, 2016, and continues to gain popularity each year. World Wi-Fi day is working to create several activities for stakeholders to get more involved and support their initiative based on their expertise. Getting involved can be as simple as raising awareness and calling upon the local government and tech companies to help do their part to close the gap in the digital divide. If companies worked together to offer affordable Wi-Fi service and equipment, they could help close the gap and connect communities in need of innovation.
Wi-Fi is a significant contributor to the success of the global economy. Providing access to those who remain unconnected can ensure people can live high-quality lives. On World Wi-Fi Day, bring awareness and help close the gap where you can.