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Growing the Internet 29 January 2016

Help get half of Kyrgyz people online in the next five years

Jad ChamchamGuest Author

In the 21st Century, it’s pretty much impossible for a country to develop without improving its Internet infrastructure. Kyrgyzstan is no exception. Right now, Kyrgyzstan lags behind much of the world when it comes to Internet penetration. While roughly 70 percent of the country is wired for the Internet, only about a quarter of Kyrgyz people are online. That’s why we started the Kyrgyz chapter of the Internet Society.

The biggest challenge in getting Kyrgyzstan online is our the landscape itself. More than two-thirds of our country is mountainous and most Kyrgyz people live in remote, high altitude towns and villages. Getting Internet access, let alone reliable, affordable, reasonably fast Internet access to places like these is a huge challenge.

That’s why I thought it was important to get involved with The Internet Society. It’s already has experience getting Internet into remote, mountainous regions thanks to their work in India and Nepal.  Being able to access that wealth of knowledge will be invaluable for our work here. We want to make it possible to provide the Internet in rural schools. We want to start by getting the Internet to the areas with the most young people living there, to help them find jobs and get an education.

Another one of our goals is to increase the number of Internet exchange points (IXPs) in Kyrgyzstan. This will allow us to route our Internet traffic domestically, rather than sending it to other countries and back again, which will make the Internet in Kyrgyzstan both more affordable and faster. We also want to work on building links and collaborating on Internet infrastructure projects with other countries in the region to help build our capacity. We also want ISOC to have a seat at the table when the Kyrgyz government is setting telecommunications policy.

More than anything though, we want to make Kyrgyzstan a more connected country. Ideally, we’d like to see 40 or 50 percent of Kyrgyz people online in the next five years.

If we could do that, we’d make a world of difference in the country’s development.

Please join us! Get in touch at [email protected]

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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