The growing divide between the wealthy and the poor has gained traction in the media over the past few years due to several high profile uprisings around the globe. Usually highlighted are the effects of discrepancies caused in the fields of health, education, future job prospects, and buying power. However, one major topic has not received the coverage that is deserves: the widening gap between the world’s access to information caused by wealth disparities. On the forefront of this discrepancy in access to information is the lack of high speed broadband for many of the world’s inhabitants. The speed and efficiency of information transfer using high speed broadband connections on one hand has connected the globe for the relatively wealthy, however, on the other hand has widened the gap for the poor who cannot access these resources. Although on the surface this may seem as a more trivial matter than health, wealth, and educational gaps, access to information plays a pivotal role in socio-economic mobility.
The Internet started off as a decentralized network, but has become increasingly centralized, with the vast majority of communications flowing through access and service infrastructures controlled by a relatively small set of corporations. However, the recent decentralization revolution set off my emerging technologies like the blockchain have presented very interesting prospective solutions. One of the companies leading the charge in this space is Ammbr, a technology company based in Singapore. Ammbr is taking up the challenge of enabling universal access to high-speed broadband for all by attempting to build the world’s largest decentralized, community-distributed, telecommunications network based on blockchain technology.
In order to accomplish their goals, Ammbr is using what is referred to as a “mesh network”. A mesh network is a network topology in which each node is capable of relaying data for others. All mesh network nodes cooperate, and with each participating node, the reach, throughput and resilience of the network expand. When powered on, the mesh network node scans the radio spectrum to identify other nodes it can connect to. With sufficient incentives to participation, Ammbr can quickly grow to provide shared connectivity on a global scale.
So why hasn’t mesh networking caught on yet? Ammbr believes the missing ingredient for widespread adoption has always been the issue of economic sustainability. Ammbr directly addresses this by adopting the sharing economy model for network access, providing an economic incentive that allows users to share their unused bandwidth for profit. Monetizing the free exchange of bandwidth, via a secondary market, allows for free market forces to drive network growth where it is most needed.
Ambitious projects like Ammbr are crucial to solving the “information gap” growing between developed and undeveloped nations today. Although the more tangible needs like food and health will always get more attention, lacking access to good internet can be just as damaging to an individual’s socioeconomic mobility. By fusing the power of decentralization brought by the blockchain and the mesh networking system, projects like Ammbr may help bridge the gap to give the world equal access to information.
If you’d like to invest in the Ammbr Project, their token sale begins September 1st. You can sign up for updates and contribute at: http://www.ammbr.com/