In 2016, A4AI called on countries to adopt a new, more ambitious target for what counts as ‘affordable’ internet access — a 1GB bundle costing no more than 2% of monthly incomes, or “1 for 2”. Nigeria recently became the first nation to formally endorse this target. We’d like to congratulate Nigeria for the nation’s vision in taking this step, and we stand ready to help make it a reality for all of her citizens.
So how did we decide on this target? Our 2015-16 Affordability Report showed that at this level, broadband is likely to be affordable to most, or all, population groups. By contrast, our research showed that the current UN-agreed target of 500MBs for 5% or less of income is likely to restrict access to the relatively well-off, while also severely restricting the amount of time people can spend online.
Recognising this, a speech by Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Communications Barrister Adebayo Shittu — delivered by the Permanent Secretary, Arch. Sunday Echono at the A4AI-Nigeria Coalition meeting on January 25, 2017 — noted:
“Consequently, A4AI and the Ministry share the common goal to make the Internet universally affordable for all who want to use it. This goal is quantified in a measure of having 1 Gigabyte of bandwidth not costing more than 2% of a person’s monthly income.”
This is a significant step forward. A4AI’s 80+ local coalition members — drawn from the public sector, private sector and civil society — are committed to helping the Ministry translate this target into benefits for all Nigerians. What is more, ECOWAS has also formally endorsed the target and recommended it for adoption by its 16 member states, and so we hope to see similar commitments from other West African nations soon.