February 2016, Issue 28
SIM cards for sale in Yangon (Photo: Remko Tanis via Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
What Are the Policy Options for Overcoming the Digital Divide?
It's that time of year again. Time for the next edition of the Affordability Report, that is!

What will it take to achieve the UN’s new global goal of affordable, universal access to the Internet by 2020? Will our current trajectory allow us to connect the more than 4 billion people still offline and to reach this target? 

These questions guided our analysis for the third annual Affordability Report, which goes live Monday, February 22nd. Mark your calendar!

Based on data and insights from 51 countries, the report takes a look at the state of affordability with a focus on how income and gender inequalities are skewing the picture, and reveals the policy options that will be key to overcoming these barriers to access.

If you are a newsletter subscriber, we will deliver the report straight to your inbox when it launches. Sign up here if you received this email through someone else or social media.

Media that would like to request an embargoed copy of the report can contact Lauran Potter, A4AI Communications Manager, at
A4AI at Mobile World Congress 2016
Coinciding with the Affordability Report launch, the A4AI team will travel to Barcelona, Spain, for Mobile World Congress—the world's largest annual conference on trends and innovation in the mobile industry—taking place February 22-26th.

A4AI will participate in a number of activities, including: 

Accelerating Digital and Financial Inclusion for Women: Connected Women Commitments Launch
Monday, February 22, 5:00-7:00pm
GSMA Theatre 1, South Entrance 1, Fira Gran Via
* A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge speaking

Mobile for Global Development Seminar & Jumpstart 
Tuesday, February 23, 1:30-6:30pm
CC1 Seminar Theatre 1, Fira Gran Via
*A4AI Research Manager Dhanaraj Thakur speaking, 3:45-4:30pm

Ministerial Programme – GSMA Capacity Building Partner Showcase and Networking Cocktail Reception
Tuesday, February 23, 5:30-7:30pm
Networking Lounge, Hall 4, Fira Gran Via
* A4AI Membership Coordinator Karolle Rabarison participating

Ministerial Programme – Leadership Workshop: Connected Societies
Wednesday, February 24, 2:00-3:30pm
Auditorium A, Hall 4, Fira Gran Via
* A4AI Deputy Director Kojo Boakye speaking

Ministerial Programme – Leadership Workshop: Connectivity for Women
Wednesday, February 24, 4:00-5:30pm
Auditorium A, Hall 4, Fira Gran Via
* A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge speaking

Have a question about A4AI activities at MWC? Want to meet with the team? Contact
In this issue:
Country Engagement | Membership | Staff UpdateUpcoming Events | Noteworthy
Dominican Republic coalition members met in Santo Domingo for a workshop (January 27th) and the quarterly coalition meeting (January 28th). View more photos.
Global Experts Join A4AI-RD Coalition Meeting to Discuss Infrastructure Sharing
A4AI’s Dominican Republic coalition gathered in Santo Domingo on January 27-28th for their first meeting of the year and a workshop on the theory and practice of infrastructure sharing.
The workshop—which engaged 100 participants—had three objectives:
  • Highlight best-practice policy and regulatory environments that have been effective in fostering infrastructure sharing and open access in the region
  • Review business models and case studies similar to the Dominican Republic
  • Identify needs for changes in the legal and regulatory framework in order to foster infrastructure sharing and open access
The experts who introduced the topic and highlighted lessons from their experience were Luis Scheker (Regulation and Competition Manager, Indotel), José Marino Garcia (Ministry of Industry, Spain), and Guillermo Alarcon (Alcatel-Lucent, now Nokia). The session included a moderated discussion among service providers, during which panelists and experts debated key challenges and shared examples of impact.

Participants reconvened into working groups in the afternoon to produce 2-3 proposals for policy options specific to the Dominican Republic. The proposals considered questions such as potential win-win models, actions to encourage collaboration between broadband providers and suppliers of other infrastructure (electricity, transport, water, etc.), and whether the country's public policy should prioritize coverage or competition.

On Thursday, January 28th, the A4AI-Dominican Republic coalition met to review their progress. Working groups provided updates on their tasks and evaluated areas where they needed support or adjustments to the work plans.
Key outcomes from the coalition meeting:
  • Taxation: Finalized the ToR for a study on the impact of lowering specific taxes and levies and identified possible sources of funding to explore; developing key questions on ICT agenda to include in an upcoming presidential election debate.
  • Data & Research: Working to engage data producers that are not contributing to the PENTIC system.
  • Infrastructure Sharing: Finalized process of involving operators in open dialogue on infrastructure sharing; finalized ToR to identify a consultant to support the process. Will review the proposals participants developed in the expert workshop.
  • Digital Agenda: Agreement to take the Digital Agenda to the presidential level and initiating steps toward implementation, prioritize projects that should be implemented, and identify technical champions in each institution that will facilitate implementation. 
→ View materials from the workshop and coalition meeting
Growing Representation from the Private Sector

Vieira de Almeida (VdA) is the latest organization to join A4AI. Headquartered in Lisbon, VdA is a Portuguese law firm with 19 practices, including a team of internationally recognized lawyers focused on ICT policy and regulation. Recognizing the need for legal services with a global reach, the firm developed an integrated network of law firms called VdAtlas, which includes offices in Portuguese speaking countries and francophone Africa.

Prior to becoming a member of A4AI, VdA already contributed to the Alliance's work by delivering a well-received infrastructure sharing workshop for the Mozambique coalition last October. Materials from the workshop are available on the A4AI website.

Teddy Woodhouse
Executive Assistant

We are pleased to welcome Teddy Woodhouse to the Web Foundation and the A4AI team. Teddy comes to A4AI from LSE’s Global Civil Society program, having specialized in research on the Internet’s impact on global activism. As Executive Assistant, he will provide administrative and logistical support to the A4AI team. Connect with Teddy on Twitter @TeddyWoodhouse.
Feb 17-18 | ICT Consumer Protection Workshop
Castries, St. Lucia
* Presenters: ECTEL, Consumers International, A4AI (Yacine Khelladi), Great Village International Consultants
* For remote participation contact

Feb 22 | Affordability Report Launch
* Media that would like to receive an embargoed copy can contact

Feb 22-26 | Mobile World Congress
Barcelona, Spain
* For queries on A4AI's activities, contact

Feb 29 – March 2 | APC Capacity Building on Infrastructure Sharing
* Hosted by APC in collaboration with East African Communications Organization (EACO). More info:

March 11 | CITP Conference on Global Internet Connection
Princeton, NJ, USA
* A4AI Research Manager Dhanaraj Thakur speaking

March 15 | Panel @ UN Commission on the Status of Women
New York City, USA
* Sponsored by Government of Latvia, with participation from UN Women, A4AI, Web Foundation, Mozilla, and others TBC.
* For updates, contact

March 22 | A4AI-Nigeria Coalition Meeting
Abuja, Nigeria
* Hosted by A4AI. Invitations forthcoming.

March 23 | A4AI-Ghana Coalition Meeting
Accra, Ghana
* Hosted by A4AI. Invitations forthcoming.

April 19-21Innovation Africa Digital
Abuja, Nigeria
* A4AI Deputy Director & Policy Lead Kojo Boakye presenting

April 20-21 | A4AI-Dominican Republic Coalition Meeting & Workshop
Santo Domingo, DR
* Hosted by A4AI. Invitations forthcoming.

April 26-28Dynamic Spectrum Alliance – 2016 Global Summit
Bogota, Colombia
* A4AI LAC Regional Coordinator Yacine Khelladi speaking

April 27 | Workshop on Gender and ICT for Policymakers 
Luanda, Angola
* Capacity building for policymakers as part of ITU Girls in ICT Day
* A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge speaking

May 2-6 | F.A.S.T. Africa: Week of Action for Internet Rights
Africa Region
* Organized by Web We Want and A4AI
* Special collaboration grants available for up to 8 African initiatives
* If you want to join the coordination team or the public launch, contact by Feb 29th.

May 10-11 | Capacity Building on Mobile Sector Regulation
Naypyidaw, Myanmar
* Hosted by A4AI and GSMA. Join the A4AI-Myanmar coalition for latest updates and invitations.

May 12 | A4AI-Myanmar Coalition Meeting
Naypyidaw, Myanmar
* Hosted by A4AI. Invitations forthcoming.

May 16-198th Annual ICT4D Conference
Nairobi, Kenya
A4AI members that would like their updates featured in the newsletter or on social media can contact
Ericsson's Connect to Learn project takes significant step towards reaching 21,000 students in Myanmar. 

In Africa, ISOC is facilitating partnerships among Internet providers to increase connectivity by leveraging each other's infrastructure.

Cisco and the UN ITU released a joint report on how the Internet of Things (IoT) creates new opportunities for global development.

For the first time ever, a consumer group in Cameroon has sued operators for false advertising. This news comes two years after A4AI's Cameroon case study highlighted the high cost of Internet and weak influence from civil society in the country.

Latest statistics released by the Pakistan Telecom Authority report the number of broadband subscribers in Pakistan has crossed 26.5 million, nearly 14% of the population.

Indian regulator TRAI bans discriminatory pricing for data services.

The average resident in Western Cape, South Africa, spends more than 20% of their monthly income on connectivity, according to a recent study by Research ICT Africa.

Kojo Boakye joins BBC Newshour Extra debate on Internet access, net neutrality, and why it matters that we enable poor people to connect to the Internet.
About A4AI

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) is a global coalition of public sector, private sector, and civil society organisations working to advance the shared mission of affordable access to mobile and fixed-line Internet for all.
CC BY, 2015 World Wide Web Foundation

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