In the nearly ten months since the Haiti earthquake, Google has engaged with and learned a lot about the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. When we looked at our internal data a few months ago we were particularly saddened, although not entirely surprised, to find that the country’s Internet bandwidth -- a critical component of any modern economy -- was radically lower than that of its close neighbors.
At the request of the Clinton Foundation, and with some input from external experts like Inveneo, we recently came up with some ideas for improving access to the Internet in Haiti and wrote them up in this paper (.pdf). They include opening TV or other appropriate spectrum for use, as the FCC recently approved in the United States, and different possibilities for connecting to undersea cables that would help make easy, cheap broadband connectivity a reality for Haitians.
These are some ideas to start the discussion. Multilateral institutions, entrepreneurs from around the globe, and the Haitian government and its citizens can all play a role in helping the Internet grow there. We believe a stronger Internet means a stronger economy and democracy, and we hope this discussion will help Haiti succeed.