We’re proud to welcome the Regional Telecommunications Commission of Central America (COMTELCA) as the newest member of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).
During an event today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge and COMTELCA Executive Secretary Allan Ruiz came together to sign an official Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). A4AI and COMTELCA will work closely over the coming years to collaborate on research, capacity building, and policymaking efforts to reduce the cost to connect and to expand access to affordable internet throughout COMTELCA’s eight member countries — Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
The majority (55%) of the population across these eight countries is not online and the cost to connect remains well above the “1 for 2” affordability target, with the average price of 1GB of mobile data across the region sitting at above 4% of average income. Reducing the cost to connect and developing the ICT sector across the region is critical to enable wider opportunities for connectivity, and to underpin socio-economic growth in the region.
Commenting on its new membership in the Alliance, Allan Ruiz, Executive Secretary of COMTELCA, said:
“Although the cost to connect in Latin America can be relatively affordable, when compared with other regions throughout the world, we still have a long way to go to ensure that all levels of income earners can afford a basic connection. By partnering with A4AI, we hope to see the cost to connect reduced to an affordable ‘1 for 2’ level — 1GB for 2% or less of average income — and to make universal access a reality for all in the member countries of COMTELCA.”
A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge added:
“Our new partnership with COMTELCA will help us to achieve our mission of affordable universal access by creating a unique opportunity to scale our successes in the Central American region, where the challenges brought on by great income inequality, language and socio-cultural barriers, among others, will determine citizens’ ability to fully benefit from internet access. We look forward to further progressing policy change to bring about digital equality across Latin America.”
COMTELCA joins over 80 members from across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, including Google, the US Agency for International Development, and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency who strive to reduce the cost to connect. We look forward to working more closely with COMTELCA on our shared goals.