The Alliance for Affordable Internet’s (A4AI) “1 for 2” target for affordable internet – 1GB of mobile broadband data available for 2% or less of GNI per capita – has been adopted as the new affordability target by the United Nations.
During the 2018 World Economic Forum, the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development released a new set of targets aimed at connecting the 50% of the world population that still remains offline, including a target to make “entry-level broadband services…affordable in developing countries, at less than 2% of monthly gross national income per capita.”
(TOP: Photo courtesy of Asian Development Bank).
“The move to adopt the “1 for 2” target represents a massive and important step forward toward enabling affordable internet access for all. As we highlighted in our 2015-16 Affordability Report, moving the threshold for affordability to a more ambitious “1 for 2” target would enable all levels of income earners across low- and middle-income countries to afford a basic internet connection. The “1 for 2” target has previously been endorsed by Nigeria, Ghana, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS); we are pleased and encouraged to see the UN officially adopt and work toward this target,” stated A4AI in its newsletter.
The UN Broadband Commission currently defines “broadband as affordable” if an entry-level (500MB) data plan is available at less than 5% of average monthly income (i.e., GNI per capita). However, this definition of affordability does not account for poverty and income inequality – two major challenges currently facing the world.
The Broadband Commission’s 2025 Targets aim specifically to support achievement of the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals by expanding broadband infrastructure and improving global internet access and use. In addition to setting a new affordability target, they lay out clear internet user penetration and digital skills goals, and call on countries to put into place funded national broadband plans or strategies.