A global coalition working to make broadband affordable for all

Rural Broadband Policy Framework

Today, half of the global population still remains offline. The reality of the geographic divide is bleak: most of those offline are from low and middle income countries, and only 14% of rural areas have access compared to 42% in urban areas in countries of the Global South.

In order to achieve the universal goals for reducing inequality and achieving universal access by 2030, clear frameworks that can guide and speed up progress are crucial. The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), in partnership with APC, CIPESA, DEF and Facebook, developed the Rural Broadband Policy Framework (RBPF) to provide guidance to help address the persistent ‘Digital Divide’ faced by people living in rural areas.

Download the full brief (PDF).

Download the infographic (PDF).

Watch the framework launch event.

Explore case studies related to Framework elements

Harnessing Market Competition While Addressing Market Failures

A cornerstone of modern economic policy is the notion that market competition encourages efficiency, drives innovation and investment, and helps consumers through increased choice, lower prices, and better service quality.


Streamlining Regulatory Processes

Although regulations can serve an important function, by their very nature they impose costs and burdens on regulated parties—including those operating in rural areas. Policymakers must carefully balance the costs and benefits of the rural broadband policies they promulgate.



Public Access and Universal Service and Access Funds

A crucial component of any strategy to address the rural-urban digital divide is the provision of public access facilities. These include telecentres, community centres, post offices, libraries, and public WiFi networks that provide people with affordable or free access to computers, tablets, and other communication devices and associated services with an internet connection.


Effectively Managing Spectrum Resources

Wireless communications technologies can be leveraged as a key means of helping to overcome impediments to extending broadband services to rural areas.Mexico

Leveraging Innovative Technologies, Architectures, and Business Models

Innovation can help to shatter assumptions about the viability of potential rural broadband operations.

Adopting Appropriate Tax and Fee Structures

Tax policy is more than just a revenue-generating tool. Rather, a country’s tax structure helps to define incentives and disincentives for particular behaviours by those subject to taxation—be they corporations, organisations, or individuals.


Stimulating Demand for Broadband Services

The preceding sections have focused principally on impediments to broadband infrastructure deployment and service provision—i.e., supply-side challenges.

Costa Rica


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