Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Sascha Meinrath and Elliot Noss write that ICANN’s new generic top-level domain process has been dragging on for years but it is finally coming to fruition, and as early as April 2013 we are likely to see the first group of new gTLDS raising perhaps as much as $100 million in “excess funds” that are not earmarked to cover costs. The challenge will be to use these proceeds in a way that best benefits the public interest and the global Internet. ICANN, a not-for-profit corporation, has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the digital destinies of billions of people if its creators use many of the newer “mesh” technologies that are now coming online. "African's Internet penetration currently hovers around 15 percent—less than half the world average. And roughly half of African countries have single-digit broadband penetration rates. The digital divide looms large, in no small part because many Africans simply cannot afford current broadband prices." Projects like CommotionWireless.net and OpenGarden.net have developed game-changing technologies that allow existing cellphones to connect with each other directly for free. They can also share bandwidth from one cellphone throughout an entire network of devices, allowing people who don't have Internet connectivity to browse the Web or send email via someone else's connection. "In essence, what we're proposing is the widespread unlocking of existing technologies, the creation of hybrid networks that take advantage of recent advances in ad-hoc wireless networking, and the digital enfranchisement of the billions of people who cannot afford to participate in current business models.""