Elliot Noss argues that auction proceeds should be used to fun wireless internet in Africa.
Tucows CEO Elliot Noss, along with “internet in a suitcase” advocate Sascha Meinrath, have penned an op-ed for Slate arguing that new TLD auction proceeds should be used to grow internet access in Africa.
In ICANN, Make a Difference, the pair suggests that the auction process for new top level domains might bring in $100 million to ICANN. Since the new TLD program is already over-funded, this money will be used in a way to benefit the public interest.
Tucows may be one of the contributors to this excess funding. All four of its new TLD applications (.group, .marketing, .media, and .online) are contested.
Noss and Meinrath argue the best use for this money would be to boost internet penetration in Africa (or another disconnected, high poverty area) via free wireless internet.
How would they use just $100 million to make a meaningful difference? That’s where Meinrath’s expertise with mesh networks comes into play.
I also suspect that a number of corporate sponsors would match ICANN funds for such an initiative.
Although it may seem “wrong” for ICANN to invest excess proceeds to just one part of the world, it’s worth noting that increasing internet penetration anywhere will benefit all new top level domain applicants.
What do you think?