Updated March 29 at 5:29pm

A Human Right wins challenge to connect the disadvantaged


PROVIDENCE – The design team with San Francisco-based organization A Human Right was selected as the winner of the 2012 A Better World by Design challenge “Connecting the Disconnected,” Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee, the R.I. Economic Development Corporation and Broadband Rhode Island announced Monday.

The challenge was to create plans to improve online information access for those who encounter educational, economic or geographical barriers.

Submissions were judged on whether plans had clear and measurable impacts, the level of innovation and whether the design team showed the capacity to realize its goals.

A Human Right CEO Kosta Grammatis and his team were selected from 14 submissions from innovators around the world.

“The Better World by Design Challenge demonstrates that government, in collaboration with our outstanding colleges and universities, can play a positive, proactive role in helping to close the digital divide,” said Chafee in prepared remarks. “The winning submission from A Human Right holds great potential for connecting the disconnected.”

Grammatis and the rest of the A Human Right team outlined a two-stage process that would leverage unused bandwidth to expand Internet access and then would offer U.S. cellular customers an incentive to buy data capacity that would automatically trigger donations internationally to a “bandwidth bank.”

“A Human Right’s solution to closing the digital divide demonstrates clear innovation and a commitment to achieving widespread gains for individuals most in need,” Stuart Freiman, broadband program director at the EDC, said in a statement.

“In our post-conference activity, we will convene a group of stakeholders along with the winner to translate these creative ideas into an implementation plan for our target populations here in Rhode Island,” added Freiman.

Every year, A Better World by Design holds a student-run conference in Providence. The winning challenge submission was named on the final day of the 2012 conference on Sept. 30.


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