Critical Issues for National Policy and Advocacy on Open Access

Open Access in the context

Open Access in the context of infrastructure typically refers to features that facilitiate Open Communications and Open Networks. As Eric Osiakwan has described it, "[Open Access] means that anyone, on equal conditions with a transparent relation
between cost and pricing, can get access to and share communication
resources on one level to provide value added services on another level
in a layered communication system architecture."

Recently, members of the APC network got together with the UNDP and other partners in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss strategies for national policy and advocacy around Open Access.   Everyone at the meeting was in agreement that Open Access is a critical aspect of ICT for development, and that it is not been given enough attention particularly at the national level.  

The following were some of the ideas that came up in terms of ideas that organizations can implement at a local level to advance open access:

  • Raise awareness through the media especially focusing on radio which has wide reach.

  • Raise awareness on what open access is and how the community can benefit

  • Establish community owned communications network

  • Develop open content for primary and secondary schools within the local community

  • Develop community websites to stimulate the development of local content

  • Develop partnerships to look at local community wireless options/networks

  • Implement new tools like wi-fi at local institutions

  • Get buy-in from local government

  • Get the government to introduce unbundled licensing

  • Advocate for infrastructure as a public good.

  • Insist that the universal service obligation be met through a fix percentage tax on moble services

  • Insist on service provider interoperability

  • Look at the impact of already existing low cost access on the poor in the short-medium term

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