African Internet Resilience: What about complementary access models?

By APCNews 22 July 2020

How can complementary models increase internet connectivity in Africa? Which policy and regulatory frameworks can create a favorable environment for community-driven internet solutions to thrive on the continent? This is the focus of the fifth webinar in the African Internet Resilience Webinar Series, taking place on 30 July.

Now more than ever, the internet plays a major role in driving local development and transformation in Africa. Increasing internet access often leads to economic growth, but not everyone has easy access to the internet in Africa. Statistics show that there are 300 million African people without access to mobile broadband connectivity.

Existing market-driven business models push operators to focus their efforts on building technologies and infrastructure in areas where they can make more profits. This means sparsely populated areas where household incomes are low and infrastructure costs are high remain unconnected. As a result, there is an emerging consensus regarding the need to develop and enable complementary access models.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the critical importance of universal affordable access to internet connectivity. Despite efforts from the different stakeholders, universal affordable access is far from being achieved in African countries. To address these concerns, the fifth webinar in the African Internet Resilience Webinar Series will be focusing on complementary models to increasing internet connectivity in Africa. In this webinar, we will try to explore policy and regulatory frameworks that can create a favourable environment for community-driven internet solutions to thrive.

We will explore how community-led alternative solutions to resolving connectivity challenges are proving increasingly successful and are growing in number. Community-owned networks are often misunderstood, in part because they represent a significant shift away from conventional market-driven telecommunication infrastructure development.

This webinar will help create a deeper understanding of their potential to bring change and address the issue of lack of an enabling environment that prevents this model from flourishing and contributing to bridging the affordable connectivity gap existing on the continent.

Objectives of the webinar
  • Introduce the need for complementary access models to address the persistent digital divide in Africa 

  • Explore some complementary access models with a deeper look into their sustainability models

  • Discuss policies and regulations to enable these complementary access models.

The virtual exchange will lead to policy and practical recommendations to improve alternative approaches to bringing internet connectivity to Africa.

When? 30 July, 11.00 - 12:30 UTC

Where? https://isoc.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_29SOkv6YQquoXJES0sKlDw

Who can join?

The webinar is open to all those who are interested in leading conversations around African Internet Resilience, in particular to those interested in connecting the unconnected and the complementary access models that are making this possible, including community networks.

Speakers:

  • Opening Mr. Moctar Yedaly, Head Of Information Society of the African Union Commission

  • Mr. Jason Aproskie, Principal Economist at the Competition Commission of South Africa and the Technical Head of the Data Inquiry 

  • Ms. Josephine Miliza, Africa Regional coordinator, LocNet

  • Ms. Chako Armant,  Senior Research Coordinator, La Différence

  • Susan M. A. Wegoye, Director Legal Affairs, Ugandan Communications Commission

  • Victor Asante, Senior Manager, Research and Planning, Ghana Innovation Fund fro Electronic Communications 

  • Moderator: Mr. Michuki Mwangi, Senior Director, Internet Technology and Development, Internet Society. 

Internet Resilience in Africa is a series of web discussions jointly organised by the African Union Commission, the Internet Society, the African Telecommunications Union, Mozilla, NetHope and APC. This fifth webinar on complementary access networks is being organised as part of APC's project Connecting the Unconnected: Supporting community networks and other community-based connectivity initiatives.



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