A core element of the IREX mission, through its Center for Collaborative Technology, is to fight for initiatives that support open affordable public access to the Internet around the world. The scope of technology and the pace of its growth is reframing the dynamics of power, wealth, and access to information with the capacity to create incredible opportunities and innovation but just as easily can result in disenfranchisement and increased disparity.
Perhaps one of the brightest spots in international efforts is the Alliance for Affordable Internet. IREX is proud to be a member of A4AI and would like to congratulate its staff and celebrate its work on its first birthday today. A4AI has a powerful voice and is already working with four countries, undertaking high-impact research and advocacy and has more than doubled membership in its first year.
Right now, just one in three people in the developing world is online — with cost being the key barrier. In developed nations, broadband internet costs 1-2% of monthly per capita income. But in less developed countries, this figure skyrockets to over 30% for a fixed line and to between 11% and 25% for a basic mobile broadband package. A4AI’s goal is to meet the UN’s target of broadband prices at less than 5% of monthly incomes to allow millions more to access the life changing potential of the Internet.
The Alliance and its members believe that policy and regulatory change can drive prices down fast, so all members have endorsed a set of policy and regulatory best practices designed to create the conditions for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets. Since its launch a year ago, the Alliance has signed deals with four countries and is building local coalitions to develop solutions that address local needs.
Support the Alliance and join them in working for a more affordable internet. To find out more about the Alliance’s work, check out this infographic, visit the Alliance’s website, or follow them on Twitter.