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January 2017, Issue 36
FEATURED STORY
Nigeria Endorses "1 for 2" Affordability Target
In 2016, A4AI called on countries to adopt a new, more ambitious target for what counts as ‘affordable’ internet access — a 1GB bundle costing no more than 2% of monthly incomes, or “1 for 2”.  Nigeria recently became the first nation to formally endorse this target. We’d like to congratulate Nigeria for the nation’s vision in taking this step, and we stand ready to help make it a reality for all of her citizens.

So how did we decide on this target? Our 2015-16 Affordability Report showed that at this level, broadband is likely to be affordable to most, or all, population groups. By contrast, our research showed that the current UN-agreed target of 500MBs for 5% or less of income is likely to restrict access to the relatively well-off, while also severely restricting the amount of time people can spend online.

Read More
Mark the date: We launch the 2017 Affordability Report on Monday, February 20th.

This year's report examines the progress being made to enable affordable internet access for all in developing and emerging countries around the world. With almost half the world now using the internet, what must we do to ensure that the 4 billion people still offline aren’t left in the wake of the digital revolution? 

In case someone forwarded this newsletter to you, go ahead and subscribe here to make sure you get first access to the report.
INTERNATIONAL ADVOCACY
Mishi Choudhary (SFLC) with Nanjira Sambuli (Web Foundation) and Sonia Jorge (A4AI Executive Director) at Internet Governance Forum, December 2016.
A4AI at the 2016 Internet Governance Forum
In December 2016, A4AI and Web Foundation team members traveled to Guadalajara, Mexico, to for the annual Internet Governance Forum. This year’s forum presented A4AI with opportunities to deliver strong advocacy messages in three areas:
  • A4AI leading Digital Inclusion: Sonia Jorge had the opportunity to share the Web Foundation’s newly formed five-year strategy (2017-2022) for the first time during a session co-hosted by A4AI and partners from WEF, Global Connect, ISOC, and WEF, among others. Since 2012, the Web Foundation has successfully advocated for positive policy change across 12 countries, affecting 500 million people. We will build upon this success by driving policy changes that impact the elements of power, accountability, and opportunity. Under the new strategy, A4AI is a key pillar of the new Digital Inclusion programme and will serve as a model for learning and building in other areas. Priorities and concerns around access that participants shared during the open forum echoed our strategy’s focus, and we look forward to collaborating with A4AI members on different topics of interest as the programme grows.
     
  • Inclusive affordability target: Yacine Khelladi, LAC Regional Coordinator, delivered a lightning talk on “Redefining Broadband Affordability for a more inclusive internet.” Analysis for the A4AI 2015/16 Affordability Report found that the current definition of “affordable internet” (entry-level broadband plan priced at less than 5% of monthly average income) masks income inequalities in many countries, and thus makes internet appear more affordable when it is still too expensive for a significant part of the population. Yacine made the case for why the “1 for 2” target—1GB mobile plan priced at 2% or less of average monthly income—should be adopted as a more inclusive threshold for affordability.
     
  • Gender and access: A4AI called for partners to support goals of promoting ICTs as empowering tools for women. The team participated in the Best Practice Forum on Gender & Access, alongside A4AI members and partners such as Research ICT Africa, Digital Empowerment Foundation, GSMA, and UN Women. The session reviewed draft findings and recommendations for how stakeholders can help to reduce women’s barriers to access. In addition, Nanjira Sambuli (Digital Equality Advocacy Manager) presented a lightning talk to share the research and policy advocacy tools that the Web Foundation is already producing to lead the way in this effort.

Explore the IGF YouTube page for an archive of all sessions.

MEMBERSHIP
Sula Batsu Joins the Alliance
Founded in 2006, Sulá Batsú is a cooperative focused on the solidarity economy. It aims to encourage and strengthen local development by working with organizations, social enterprises, community networks and social movements at a national, regional and global level. Sulá Batsú approaches this goal through different lines of work: digital technologies, art and culture, collective construction, management of knowledge and the solidarity economy.
A4AI Welcomes New Advisory Council Members
Left to Right: Belinda Exelby, Njideka Harry, Johan Hellstrom, Smeeta Hirani, Paul Rowney, Dr. Renee Wittemyer.

In January 2017, we had the pleasure of welcoming new members to the Advisory Council. New members participated in their first meeting with the rest of the council, during which the A4AI team had the opportunity to present our 2017-2018 plans for review and approval. We are excited for the depth and breadth of experience that this new group of representatives will add to this planning process and beyond!

Sign Up for Capacity Building with GSMA

GSMA’s Capacity Building programme offers free courses designed to help policymakers and regulators stay up-to-date with the latest industry developments and regulatory approaches. Several courses are open for registration for Q1, including offerings such as “Competition Policy in the Digital Age” and “Principles of Mobile Privacy.” Visit the website to explore and register for upcoming opportunities.
Meet A4AI at Mobile World Congress

A4AI team members are gearing up to participate in the 2017 Mobile World Congress, taking place February 27th through March 1st in Barcelona, Spain.

Members and partners who would like to meet the team should reach out to karolle.rabarison@webfoundation.org.

 
RESEARCH
Finding Affordable Solutions to Connect in South Africa
A4AI Research Analyst Erica Penfold has been investigating community-based solutions to connectivity in South Africa. Our research for the 2015/16 Affordability Report found that a basic mobile connection costs 6-19% of monthly incomes for nearly half of South Africans. In late 2016, ahead of a Parliamentary committee hearing on affordability, hundreds of thousands of people rallied with #DataMustFall to speak up about high data prices and demand action from service providers and government.

With affordability being a major barrier, what solutions are communities building on their own to enable more access? Erica shares two of a number of exciting projects taking on this challenge: Shika Moto and Zenzeleni Networks Mankosi. Read more on the A4AI blog and tell us about other programmes you know of that are developing alternative community-based solutions to connectivity.

In case you missed it, we reflected on the impact that the Alliance achieved in 2016 and summarized the highlights in an infographic. Take a look and share with us what you would like to see more of this year: Top 10 Impacts from A4AI’s work in 2016.
UPCOMING EVENTS
Feb 15 | TUAC Forum on Digititalization
Paris, France
* A4AI Policy Advocacy Manager Eleanor Sarpong participating

Feb 27 - Mar 2 | Mobile World Congress
Barcelona, Spain
* A4AI team participating: Eleanor Sarpong, Dhanaraj Thakur, Sonia Jorge, Karolle Rabarison
* Email karolle.rabarison@webfoundation.org to connect with the team

Mar 13-15 | Women's Rights Online (WRO) Partners' Workshop
Washington, DC
* Learn about the WRO network

Mar 13-24 | CSW61 at UN Women
New York, NY
* A4AI participating Mar 16-17th

Mar 22-23 | A4AI-Dominican Republic Coalition Meeting
Santo Domingo, DR
* Featuring presentation of fiscal impact study
Mar 23 | A4AI-Mozambique Coalition Meeting
Maputo, Mozambique
* Date to be confirmed

Mar 29-31 | RightsCon
Brussels, Belgium
* Dhanaraj Thakur and Nanjira Sambuli participating

Apr 2-3 | Cetic Gender Workshop
São Paulo, Brazil
* Sonia Jorge presenting

Apr 24 | A4AI-Nigeria Coalition Meeting
Lagos, Nigeria
* Invitation forthcoming

Apr 25-27 | Internet Freedom Forum
Lagos, Nigeria

May 3-5 | World Economic Forum on Africa
Durban, South Africa

May 15-18 | Stockholm Internet Forum
Stockholm, Sweden
Thank you for reading! As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions. A4AI members that would like their updates featured in the newsletter may send their inputs to karolle.rabarison@webfoundation.org.
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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, 2016 World Wide Web Foundation

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