“A4AI”: Alliance aimed at bringing down cost of internet access launched
A number of government bodies, NGOs and private companies have formed a coalition named Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) which aims at reducing the cost of internet access worldwide. The coalition will push for policy and regulatory reforms to bring down the cost of bandwidth in developing and poor countries, where cost of internet access remains exorbitant.
What is the aim of A4AI (Alliance for Affordable Internet)?
The cost of having broadband connection and internet access is very high in developing countries compared to developed ones. The coalition of A4AI aims to reduce the cost by advocating for open, competitive and innovative broadband markets to help access prices fall to below 5% of monthly income worldwide, a target set by the UN Broadband Commission. It this goal is met then the two-thirds of the world that is presently not connected to the internet will be online. According to International Telecommunication Union (ITU), by 2012, fixed-broadband prices represented 1.7% of monthly gross national income in developed countries. In developing countries, the cost of broadband connection accounts for 30.1% of average monthly income.
Who are the sponsors to A4AI (Alliance for Affordable Internet)?
The global sponsors of the A4AI are Google, UK Department for International Development, US Agency for International Development and Omidyar Network, a firm that often invests in non-profit entities. Besides these, Intel, Microsoft, Facebook, Cisco, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, the US State Department and several other regional and international bodies are also members of A4AI. From India, Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) is part of the alliance.