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13 April 2015 | Updated on 1 May 2024

Infrastructure sharing is an operational strategy designed to minimise the resources needed for communication infrastructure, making it much less costly and faster to deploy. By freeing up the resources required for network construction, broadband can be made more affordable for users. In addition, cost savings mean more funds can become available for network deployment in areas that may otherwise be uneconomic to serve. Reaching underserved areas with broadband infrastructure is a key constraint in efforts to ensure that universal access rights are upheld, so infrastructure sharing is an important component of national strategies to ensure access to broadband.

In fibre deployment, 80-90% of the cost is in the civil works for the ducting – if this can be shared, the savings are very substantial. Similarly, duplication of masts massively increases the cost for providers rolling out last-mile wireless networks.

In the developing world there are only a few examples of broadband infrastructure-sharing initiatives, and the field of infrastructure-sharing strategies and policy is not well recognised or broadly adopted.

This project aims to:

  • Identify the most effective strategies for infrastructure sharing and the national policies that encourage or facilitate their adoption.
  • Improve awareness among emerging nation service providers and national/regional policy makers of the importance of infrastructure sharing in helping to address demand for broadband, especially in low-income environments.
  • Familiarise policy makers and regulators with the legislative tools that can be used to help encourage more infrastructure sharing.
  • Raise awareness amongst civil society groups of the need to encourage progressive infrastructure-sharing policies.

With support from Google Africa and the Internet Society, the project is producing in-depth analysis of infrastructure-sharing strategies and policies that have been adopted around the world, and four regional awareness-raising workshops are now being planned for policy makers and regulators in West, Central, Southern and East Africa. A set of short infrastructure-sharing briefings for service providers, policy makers/regulators and civil society is being produced in two languages – English and French – for use in awareness-raising campaigns and workshops.

To support the initiative, a detailed study was commissioned from consultancy Deloitte, which was identified from a shortlist of potential candidates who submitted responses to requests for proposals. The study comprised a global review and detailed case studies of ten developing countries and was published in April 2015 (see links below).

Countries covered:

  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Kenya
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • Thailand
  • Uganda

Download the report Unlocking Broadband for All.

Press release: Developing countries helped to achieve universal access through use of shared infrastructure

Further resources:

Image source: Deloitte