The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) has today began the process of ensuring that internet prices fall below 5 per cent of monthly incomes worldwide through global policy reforms.
To achieve this, A4AI to lead policy and regulatory reform and spur action to drive down artificially high internet prices in developing countries.
“By advocating for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets, A4AI aims to help access prices fall to below 5% of monthly income worldwide, a target set by the UN Broadband Commission. Reaching this goal can help to connect the two-thirds of the world that is presently not connected to the internet,” says A4AI in a statement sent out today.
A4AI’s 30+ members reach across boundaries of geography, industry, and organisation type and include governments, companies, and civil society organisations from both developed and developing countries. Members share a belief that that policy reform, underpinned by robust research and genuine knowledge-sharing, is one of the best ways to unlock rapid gains in internet penetration rates.
The Alliance was initiated by the World Wide Web Foundation, and its honorary chairperson is Dr Bitange Ndemo, the immediate former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications, who is widely regarded as the father of ICT in Kenya.
Commenting on the announcement Dr Ndemo said: “In Kenya, we saw the number of internet users more than double in a single year after we liberalised markets. Now we need to spark the same revolution on broadband costs and access, not only in my country but around the world. To achieve this, we will use our combined voices, leadership and expertise to press for fair, competitive and socially responsible markets.”
A4AI announced its plans today at the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation’s Annual Forum in Abuja, Nigeria. As part of the drive to reduce internet costs globally – with a special focus on developing countries – the body will embark on various activities. These include having in-country engagements with three to four States by the end of 2013, expanding to at least twelve countries by the end of 2015 and producing an annual ‘Affordability Report’, with the first edition being unveiled in December 2013.
A4AI members have also committed to a set of policy best practices that will guide advocacy work at the international level with key policy levers to drive prices being innovative allocation of spectrum, promoting infrastructure sharing, and increasing transparency and public participation in regulatory decisions.