Today, we’re celebrating the Alliance for Affordable Internet’s first birthday (check out our birthday infographic). Our vision of driving access prices down through policy and regulatory reform has resonated, and we’ve made rapid progress since our launch on October 7 2013 in Abuja, Nigeria. Although there have been many highlights, here are the three we consider most important.
First, we already have the commitment of four countries — the Dominican Republic, Ghana, Nigeria and Mozambique — to work with us to shift policies and regulations. We’re working on the ground via in-country coalitions to develop workable solutions tailored to local realities. Over 200 million people stand to benefit from this work.
Second, we’ve doubled our membership. Today, we’re proud to have over 65 members and local partners scattered around the globe, including private sector technology giants, a diverse range of world governments and some of the most influential civil society organisations in the world. Why does this matter? The combined expertise and resources of our members, plus the diverse viewpoints we represent, give us the best possible chance of affecting change.
Third, we’ve put affordability issues top of mind for policymakers and advocates globally. We’ve keynoted and spoken at a wide range of conferences across the globe and appeared in thousands of media articles — with insights underpinned by our robust original research, such as our annual Affordability Report and our growing collection of country case studies. Policymakers tell us they now understand the urgency of focusing on affordability in more detail, and feel empowered to know that there are tested policy and regulatory paths that can reduce prices quickly.
As much as today is a day for celebration, we’re aware that our work is cut out for us. More than 60% of the world is still not online. And as the UN Broadband Commission highlighted recently: “Assuming that people can afford fixed broadband if it costs less than 5% of their annual income, fixed broadband access is still unaffordable for 1.7 billion people, and mobile broadband unaffordable for over 2.6 billion people around the world.”
Our goal is to drive prices down to below the UN’s 5% target in every country around the world, and with your help, we’re a little closer today than we were 12 months ago. The best possible birthday present you can give us? Forward this post to someone you think could help us to make a difference and ask them to join us in working towards making the life-changing potential of the Internet affordable for all.
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