We are excited to award a first round of grant funding through our BOLT grant program to four exciting projects that will help advance Internet access and connectivity for communities around the world. Launched in 2021, the BOLT program funds teams of creatives, technologists, and researchers to develop projects that promote Internet connectivity, particularly among communities where current technologies are unavailable or inaccessible.
The selected projects include:
Digital Empowerment Foundation – $200,000 to extend Internet access for the tea tribe community (Adivasi) in India’s Assam State, who face one of the lowest levels of access and digital coverage in the country. The project will run Internet access points through Community Internet Libraries (CILs) in the tea gardens, boosted by mobile data network and Wi-Fi zones, effectively serving local needs for access, information, and linkages to opportunities.
Digital Harbor Foundation Inc – $200,000 in funding to deliver free, high-speed Internet service to low-income residents in Baltimore City, Maryland (US), where roughly 41% of residents lack home Internet connections. This project will be delivered through Project Waves, an organization committed to bridging the digital divide in Baltimore and beyond.
Fundación Sole Colombia – $200,000 in funding to create the SOLE lab, an open-source futuristic library that will provide Internet for the Wayuu indigenous community in Colombia. The project aims to create a SOLE (Self-Organized Learning Environment) where the community can come together to access the Internet’s resources as well as benefit from each other’s knowledge.
Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) – $200,000 in funding to extend “eduroam”, a free global Wi-Fi roaming service for the research and education community. The project aims to extend this service country-wide to cover more towns and cities, enabling free connectivity services to a larger number of users from the research and education community in Uganda.
The Internet Society Foundation will launch its next call for grant applications in March 2022.