The 550 Challenge — the world borderless by February 3, 2018 — promotes the expansion of Internet access to include everyone on earth by the 550th anniversary of Johannes Guttenberg's death. Gutenberg, who invented modern book printing, died on February 3, 1468 before the printing press got credit for ending the Dark Age and setting in motion 200 years of accelerated progress in art, literature, and learning known as the Renaissance. The 550 Challenge seeks to realize the promise of the Internet as the basis for a Communication Renaissance. It will promote efforts to bridge the gap between government institutions designed in the context of a physical geography and the virtual, borderless nature of the Internet. The challenge of connecting everyone on earth to the Internet requires overcoming a long list of issues already engaging public and private sector initiatives. While there is no shortage of obstacles, it is not impossible. The New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, which formulates policy and regulatory reforms to support open architectures and open source innovations in addition to facilitating the development and implementation of open technologies and communications networks, hosted this discussion on Feb. 3, 2012.
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