GB4R Workshop Announcement

The effort to craft a plan to meet the broadband connectivity goal set by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR)—that “all refugees, and the communities that host them, are connected to mobile networks and the Internet so that they can leverage these technologies to improve their lives”—today announced that it would be holding a workshop on a variety of issues related to broadband and refugees on March 26.  The workshop will take place at the offices of Mozilla in San Francisco, at 2 Harrison Street, #175.  The workshop will run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m PT.

The workshop is part a project to create a Global Broadband Plan for Refugees (the “Project”).  Managed by leading experts on broadband policy and practice and funded by USA for UNHCR,, and the World Bank, the Project reflects the increasing recognition that, in addition to emergency responses, the world’s growing refugee population requires investments in long-term solutions and that, in today’s connected world, a sound strategy should include initiatives that increase refugee access to broadband. The Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility of the New School is overseeing the effort.

The workshop will discuss a number of topics including:

  • Improving information gathering and dissemination for decision making;
  • Network deployment, with a particular emphasis on how government policies, the organization of aid agencies and non-governmental organizations (such as by lowering costs through buying consortia and other techniques) and technology trends and developments can affect the economics of deployment; and
  • Utilization to address critical needs for refugees, such as identity, education, health care, job training, and financial services, among other areas. 

Last month, the Project announced an Request for Information seeking written submissions on a variety of topics related to how to achieve the UNHCR broadband connectivity goals and improve the lives and prospects for refugees using broadband networks and content.  (Information on the RFI can be found at here)  Building on the information it receives from the workshop, the RFI and from other activities, the Project will propose specific action steps for government, philanthropic, assistance organizations, and the private sector to address the broadband needs of the global refugee population and their host countries.

 Blair Levin, who directed the writing of the National Broadband Plan for the United States and is coordinating the effort, noted “Obtaining information from the wide spectrum of stakeholders is critical to crafting the best possible recommendations.”

Persons or organizations participating in the workshop should contact: Alyssa Kropp at


Global Broadband Plan for Refugees: San Francisco Workshop


Monday, March 26 from 9:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m.


Mozilla Office

2 Harrison Street, #175

San Francisco, CA 94105

For further information about the Project go to or contact Aaron Alberico at