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A4AI Affordability Report 2017 highlights Digital Divide

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) published its annual Affordability Report. A4AI is a global alliance of over 80 member organisations from across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in both developed and developing countries, dedicated to ensuring affordable internet access for all through policy and regulatory change.

The Affordability Report represents part of A4AI's ongoing efforts to measure progress toward affordable internet. The 2017 Affordability Report looks at the policy frameworks in place across 58 low- and middle-income countries to determine what changes countries have made to drive prices down and expand access— and what areas they should focus on to enable affordable connectivity for all.

Excerpt from the Executive Summary:

In 2017, the world will mark a significant milestone: 50% global internet penetration. Though internet access has become a daily expectation for many, this will mark the first time that the scales have tipped toward more of the world being connected than not. But for the half of the world that remains offline — mostly women in developing countries — this means being left even further behind1 as the digital revolution steams ahead.

Last year, the global community recognised the importance of digital equality for socio-economic growth and opportunity and set a target as part of the new Sustainable Development Goals: affordable, universal internet access by 2020. The bad news is that without urgent policy action, we’ll miss this target by over 20 years. High connectivity costs remain one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the universal access pledge. Though broadband prices are coming down, they simply aren’t falling fast enough, leaving low income earners and other marginalised populations unable to afford even a basic connection.

Access the Report

Photo: cover of the A4AI Affordability Report 2017