Connecting the 50% of the world that is still offline means, in large part, ensuring that everyone, everywhere is able to access an internet that is affordable. Yesterday, the United Nations Broadband Commission took an important step to realise this goal by adopting a new, more ambitious affordability target — entry-level internet available for 2% or less of GNI per capita.
The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) — an initiative of the Web Foundation — first proposed this new target in 2016. A “1 for 2” target (i.e., 1GB of mobile broadband available for 2% or less of average monthly income), A4AI argued, would enable all levels of income earners across low- and middle-income countries to afford a basic connection. Since then, the new affordability threshold has been adopted across national governments (Nigeria, Ghana), regional bodies (the Economic Community of West African States), and now, the wider international community.
The news was shared yesterday at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, when the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development released a new set of targets aimed at bringing the last billions online and achieving the wider set of Sustainable Development Goals.
At the Web Foundation, we’re pleased and encouraged to see the Broadband Commission adopt the “1 for 2” target as the new standard for affordable internet, and believe that striving towards this level will enable billions more to afford access, moving us that much closer toward our shared goal of digital equality and an internet that is available to, used by, and empowering for all.
A full list of the Broadband Commission’s 2025 Targets, as well as background on the Commission itself, can be found in this press release. More about the “1 for 2” target can be found in the A4AI brief on the need to redefine “affordable internet” and in its 2015-16 Affordability Report, as well as in this blog post celebrating adoption of the new target.