Geeks Without Frontiers (Geeks) is a platform for global impact. An award-winning non-profit, Geeks’ mission is to bring the benefits of broadband connectivity -health, education, poverty reduction, gender equality and the other UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s)- to the estimated 3.5 billion people who remain unconnected.
Geeks aspires to empower the unserved, including the forcibly displaced, create Smart Communities and help catalyze positive global change. It does this by leveraging the benefits of satellite, wireless and fiber connectivity-based solutions in a resilient, technologically neutral and sustainable manner; by creation of innovative regulatory and business models designed to democratize and accelerate SDG focused connectivity and through thought leadership, advocacy, public and private advisory support.
GEEKS in Action
Connectivity for Human Rights. Geeks recently completed a contract, sponsored by government and private-sector stakeholders, to develop a commercially sustainable connectivity model designed to help address forced labour and human trafficking in a national commercial fishing industry. Geeks intends that the model will become a scalable template applicable to commercial fishing supply chains globally. In addition to addressing Human Rights concerns via vessel geo-positioning and providing connectivity to the crew, the model has commercial benefits for vessel owners including the ability to transmit catch reports, monitor weather, conduct safe navigation, and send distress signals. Other benefits of connectivity related geo-positioning technologies include the ability of Governments to better address ‘Illegal Unreported and Unregulated’ fishing.
Disaster Preparedness. Leveraging Geeks’ expertise in this area, Geeks has launched a global capacity building program for Government level disaster preparedness stakeholders. The first in a series of events was recently held for Government representatives of a Developing Country that is prone to natural disasters and conflict and that is seeking knowledge and skills on connectivity best practices. Held in coordination with global inter-governmental and connectivity organizations – and drawing upon technology-neutral skills building – the Geeks Without Frontiers program has set the stage for development of a disaster preparedness plan in the client nation. The scalable platform developed by Geeks will be used to build capacity in connectivity related Disaster Preparedness globally.
Measuring SDG Impact. In conjunction with a world-renowned university and other stakeholders, Geeks is researching a system of measuring the impact of Sustainable Development Goal related investments.
The UN SDG’s are perhaps the most ambitious and far-reaching initiative in human history designed to address the major social, economic, and environmental challenges confronting humanity.
The main challenge to achieving the SDGs by the target year of 2030 is the estimated US$5-$7 trillion funding gap between funds that can be sourced from Governmental and multilateral funding organizations and the investment needed to fund the SDGs. To attract private investment, projects must be financially sustainable, transparent and, most importantly, measurable.
Geeks believes that an innovative system of ‘Sustainable Development Credits’ or ‘Impact Credits’ can drive and accelerate both public and private investment into projects of critical social importance and, in particular, infrastructure projects.
Refugee Empowerment. Working in partnership with Governments, NGO’s and satellite, fiber and mobile network operators, Geeks is currently researching providing sustainable connectivity solutions for refugee camps in a specific country. If successful, the initiative will be extended to other countries.
Geeks is also interested in researching a global policy template for refugee inclusion focused on unlocking the socio-economic and connectivity barriers that refugees face due to a lack of internationally acceptable form of legal identity.
Smart Communities. Combining DigOnce!, CommunityConnect!, Disaster Resilience and Recovery and Geek’s work on the US State Model Code for Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment and Investment, Geeks is introducing these concepts into Smart Community, County and Country strategy and thinking in order to promote the Sustainable Development Goal related benefits that come with access to ubiquitous, resilient, connectivity. Geeks has been engaged to advise administrations at regional and local levels regarding Smart Community strategies.
Disaster Resilience and Recovery. Leveraging CEO, David Hartshorn’s, experience in supporting the United Nations and World Food Program regarding global disaster resilience and recovery for critical connectivity assets, David was appointed to the US Federal Communications Commission ‘Disaster Response and Recovery Working Group’ relating to developing a communications resilience and recovery strategy for the USA.
VillageConnect! Geeks is enabling expanded access to sustainable, low average revenue per user connectivity models, in conjunction with satellite, mobile and fiber service providers so as to be able to bring SDG related connectivity to unserved and underserved communities in the world. Combined with connectivity cost reduction techniques, including Demand Aggregation, and advances in technology, Geeks is committed to democratizing access for the billions of marginalized people throughout the world.
Closing the Digital Divide. Following the publication of Geeks’ Model Law on DigOnce! and CommunityConnect! initiatives, Geeks Directors Michael Potter and John Morris were appointed to the US Federal Communications Commission working group briefed to draft a Digital Divide focused ‘US State Model Code for Accelerating Broadband Infrastructure Deployment and Investment’. Since then, Geeks has been advocating for other governments to adopt similar approaches and accelerate the expansion of connectivity to unserved and underserved communities.
- Satellite. Geeks published its ‘CommunityConnect!’ best practices White Paper for Satellite Network Operators, Regulators, and Service Providers & Integrators designed to help accelerate closing the Digital Divide by increasing the ease and cost of access to satellite connectivity. CommunityConnect! has been endorsed by many of the main satellite providers and related industry organisations and won the 2018 Pacific Telecommunications Council award for ‘Best Regulatory Innovation’.
- Fiber and Wireless. Geeks Published its ‘Model Law on DigOnce!’ a modular legal and regulatory framework for accelerating the roll out of broadband networks in a cost and environmentally efficient manner.
Mesh WiFi. Geeks developed an open source, low cost, 802.11s mesh based WiFi protocol technology. A step in the direction to seamless communications, this standard has great potential to help close the Digital Divide in regions of the world, where access to connectivity is constrained or non-existent. Geeks is currently evaluating other complementary innovations, including distributed ledger technology, smart contracts, and other exponential technologies. In this regard Geeks Director, Michael Potter, serves on the ITU Focus Group on Application of Distributed Ledger Technology and Blockchain.
For further information about Impact Credits & Sustainable Development Credits please click here.