A global coalition working to make broadband affordable for all

A4AI Policy & Regulatory Good Practices

A4AI’s advocacy efforts and on-the-ground work are guided by a set of policy and regulatory practices that have been shown to drive down the cost of Internet access. These practices have all been endorsed by the Alliance’s diverse membership, and are all grounded in our guiding principles:


• Internet freedom and the fundamental rights of expression, assembly, and association online must be protected

• Access to the Internet is a significant enabler of economic growth and human development

• Open and competitive markets are the most effective way to drive reduced delivery costs, affordable consumer pricing, and new innovations



A. Nurture healthy market competition

• Streamlined licensing process with no legal barriers to market entry

• Ensure a competitive market structure, with limited or no national government ownership of end user service providers

• Available access at reasonable market rates to international gateway or cable

• Transparent disclosure of pricing and service options to end users

• Permit pre-paid and tiered pricing models

• Remove barriers to crossing national borders with network infrastructure and traffic


B. Regulator established as an effective and independent expert agency

• Structural independence from other governmental entities and telecom providers

• Sufficient and predictable funding stream

• Creates regulatory certainty with clear, transparent regulations

• Authority, jurisdiction, accountability and capacity to enforce regulations

• Effective regulation of anti-competitive behavior when necessary

• Advocate for consumer interests including both immediate service and sustainability


C. Promote evidence-based policymaking and regulatory processes that include meaningful public participation




A. Streamlined processes for infrastructure deployment and sharing


• Efficient and effective access to public rights of way and tower zoning

• Coordinated with other infrastructure projects (fiber or duct laid during road works)

• Facilitate sharing of backbone, ducting, right of way, and cell tower passive infrastructure

• Target public infrastructure investment to market failures, through consultation with market players and other stakeholders. Ensure that subsidized infrastructure is competitively and transparently procured and offers access or capacity to all market players in a non-discriminatory way, so as to achieve end user affordability.



B. Effective spectrum management


• Ensure sufficient broadband-capable spectrum is made available and used efficiently

• Open, transparent, and fair allocation and licensing mechanism

• Harmonization of spectrum to global standards

• Technology and service neutral licensing allowing flexible use



C. Enable innovative usage through unlicensed spectrum and opportunistic reuse within rules that avoid harmful interference (e.g., harmful interference with spectrum assigned to mobile operators). Established local and/or regional Internet Exchange Point (IXP)


• Transparent and fair rules for participation

• Support for local data caching



D. No luxury taxation or excessive customs/tariffs on telecom goods and services required for Internet access


• Including handsets, set-top boxes, data/voice service, and infrastructure equipment

• Tax rate at comparable level to basic goods and services rather than luxury goods



E. Effective Universal Service Fund (USF) administration (if a USF exists)


• Non-discrimination (fair collection and distribution of funds, including non-carriers)

• Transparent and consultative processes, incorporating stakeholder inputs and priorities

• Clear target goals and monitoring of effectiveness and impact of USF programs and projects

• Prioritize one-time infrastructure and other expenditures to enable access

• Target any ongoing subsidies to individuals rather than providers



F. Reasonable effort to systematize data collection of key indicators to measure effectiveness


• Pricing, speed, adoption rates, spectrum utilization, peering

• Encourage participation in the ITU Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development

• Collection and disaggregation (e.g., by gender) of usage statistics to identify gaps and opportunities



[PDF versions of our best practices: English / Spanish]

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