A4AI works to secure affordable and meaningful access to the internet to over 628 million people. As a broad coalition of members from civil society and the public and private sectors, A4AI advocates for policy change based on robust and groundbreaking research. We facilitate multi-stakeholder participation to address urgent policy issues at national, regional, and international levels, with dedicated commitments to expand affordable access globally and across seven countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
In 2018, a year in which we celebrated our 5th Anniversary, we started implementing a new plan to take the Alliance towards a new 5-year phase of evidence-based policy advocacy and direct country engagement work. We added local and global members, growing the Alliance to 88 strong. And we welcomed Jean-Philbert Nsengimana as our new Honorary Chair.
Here’s a summary of A4AI’s top highlights for 2018:
- Our ‘1 for 2’ target was officially adopted by the UN Broadband Commission as the threshold for what constitutes affordable internet.
- We filled critical data gaps by publishing information about the price of 1GB of mobile broadband data across countries in the Global South.
- We produced and released our fifth annual Affordability Report. The report looks at the state of policy for affordable internet in 61 low- and middle-income countries and includes a unique look at how geography impacts industry costs, with one-of-a-kind data on the cost to connect users across various geographies.
- For the first time, we published data on median mobile broadband download and upload speeds across low- and middle-income countries. This data was featured in our report examining the quality of mobile broadband service and outlining steps to improve service quality.
- We co-organized the second Africa Summit on Women and Girls in Technology in Accra, which brought together hundreds of women technologists and digital equality advocates from across Africa, affirming the importance of policy in technology and to ensure that Africa’s digital future is built by — and is empowering for — women.
- We led active national multi-stakeholder coalitions working to advance affordable access through policy change across 8 countries in 3 regions:
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Developed the roadmap for the Guatemala national broadband plan.
- Advocated for and developed a proposal to create an institutional governance mechanism to manage the digital agenda in Guatemala.
- Joined the ELAC 2020 board (as civil society observer), leading its infrastructure and open access working group, and successfully contributing to the ELAC 2020 agenda (see goal 1)
- Provided training and advocated for COMTELCA countries to develop gender-responsive policies.
- Held a successful roundtable on infrastructure sharing in Ghana, where the ministry announced its commitment to creating a digital development policy, and inviting A4AI and other stakeholders to contribute to this process.
- Held a broadband forum in Nigeria in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and industry group ATCON, successfully reviewing aspects of the Nigeria Broadband plan 2013-2018 and collecting multi-stakeholder inputs for the new plan. Recommendations included the need for SMART targets, a call for increased transparency with open data in the sector and considerations to incentivise innovation and infrastructure sharing.
- Contributed to the development of the recently approved Regulation on Universal Service and Access in Mozambique and convened the first multi-stakeholder consultation to inform the development of the new strategic plan for the universal service and access fund, which is being led by A4AI.
- Successfully completed the validation of the National ICT policy 2018-2022 in Liberia and handed it over to the ministry for submission to the cabinet.
- Moderated an important policy dialogue between the service providers, government representatives, the regulator and civil society, to inform the development of Bangladesh’s Strategic Plan for Broadband expansion.
For more updates on our work, follow us on Twitter at @A4A_Internet.