Who are we?
The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) is a broad coalition working to enable everyone, everywhere to access the life-changing power of the Internet. We have more than 80 diverse member organisations from around the world — from civil society, and the public and private sectors.
What are we trying to do?
More than half of the world’s population — equivalent to over 4 billion people — is not connected to the Internet. Why? For many, the answer is cost. In most of the developed world, a fast, reliable Internet connection costs less than 1% of average monthly income. In the world’s least developed countries, the cost of just 500MB of data each month hovers around 15% of average incomes — more than most people can spend on their children’s education. Women, rural dwellers and the poor are hardest hit by high prices.
We want to change this. It’s time to bring billions more online, fast, and achieve universal access to the Internet.
What does A4AI consider “affordable” Internet?
Our mission is squarely focused on overcoming the affordability barrier to access for women, the poor, rural dwellers, and other marginalised populations that remain priced out of the digital revolution. Specifically, we are working to achieve a “1 for 2” affordability target: 1GB of mobile broadband priced at 2% or less of average monthly income. Why this target? Our research shows that at this price point, even those earning the least in a society should be able to afford Internet access.
How are we going to achieve this?
Though technological solutions to drive down costs and expand access are well advanced, their effectiveness to do so continues to be hamstrung by bad or outdated policies. Our work is centred around the belief that policy and regulatory reforms are the best tools to unlock technological advances, reduce the cost to connect, and enable universal access. A4AI builds local multi-stakeholder coalitions that identify priority local issues and work through a combination of advocacy, research and knowledge sharing to drive the policy changes necessary to reduce prices.
All of A4AI’s members have agreed on a set of policy and regulatory good practices that guide our advocacy and on-the-ground work. These practices operate on the understanding that open, competitive and innovative broadband markets are key to reducing connectivity costs for operators and for consumers. A4AI recognises that some populations will remain beyond the reach of the market, and so we also advocate for public access solutions (e.g., community WiFi, free or subsidised access in public schools and community centres) to connect women, the poor, and other marginalised populations that might still be unable to afford an Internet connection.
How does this work on the ground?
While our work is guided by our set of policy and regulatory good practices, we recognise that there can be no “one-size-fits-all” solution. In each country of engagement, we build national multi-stakeholder coalitions, comprising representatives from civil society and the private and public sectors. These coalitions develop locally owned roadmaps and lead efforts to make Internet more affordable in their country. If you want to learn more about the work of each of these national coalitions, check out our country coalition pages.