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No. 222 Internet universal affordable access: Are we there yet?

Valeria Betancourt



Enhanced Cooperation

Many people still don't have affordable access to the internet. 
This workshop will focus on identifying how big the gap is between the Internet haves and have-nots, and the priority measures needed to address those who are still left behind. 
The workshop will aim to describe in broad terms who they are (e.g wealth and gender constraints), where they are, and why are they still not effectively connected to the internet. 
The workshop will also consider current definitions of affordable access, including definitions of 'broadband', and take a look at current efforts to develop 'national broadband plans'. 
The conclusions will be validated by the workshop participants, with the aim of clarifying the debate as to where we are on the road to universal access and what needs to be done to get to there.
Issues to be addressed in the workshop will take a developing country perspective and cover:

Defining 'universal', 'affordable' and 'reliable' access, providing inputs for national broadband plans to be able to adopt realistic and specific targets for universal affordable access to broadband.

Availability of ICT infrastructure and relevance of public access facilities in the age of mobile phones.

Needs for relevant local services/apps in local languages.

Indirect barriers such as access such as cultural issues, gender issues, and access to electricity

Public policy and industry bottlenecks in delivering affordable, pervasive broadband access, in particular: ICT policy and regulatory environment, market entry barriers, access to radio spectrum, infrastructure sharing and interconnection policies.

Has the proponent organised a workshop with a similar subject during past IGF meetings?


Indication of how the workshop will build on but go beyond the outcomes previously reached

Infrastructure related internet public policy is increasingly being asked to take into account the impact of policies on specific groups, including women, and specific barriers (for example, in Broadband Commission work and telecommunications policy in Latin America). In addition to the policy issues noted above, a key focus in this session will be current issues in the regulatory space, including the need for competition, light handed license/regulation, assistance/protection for under-served populations, and on tech issues such as mobile technologies. The workshop will build on previous access related workshops and discussions to take account of new developments and to gain multi-stakeholder perspectives on the implications of these for internet related public policy and its impact on specific groups.

Background Paper

Download Background Paper

Session Type




Mr. Paul Wilson, APNIC, Technical Community, AUSTRALIA, Asia-Pacific Group

Have the Proponent or any of the co-organisers organised an IGF workshop before?


The link(s) to the workshop report(s)
















Panellists and Moderator

Invited panellists, individuals and organisations

= panellist or organisation has been confirmed

Please clock on Biography to view the biography of panelllist

Theresa Swinehart, Verizon, Female, Private Sector, UNITED STATES, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOGBiography

Michuki Mwangi, ISOC, Male, Technical Community, African GroupBiography

Jose Clastornik, Government of Uruguay, Male, Government, URUGUAY, Latin American and Caribbean Group - GRULAC, Also invited to co-sponsor (awaiting response)

Rohan Samarajiva, LIRENasia, Male, Technical Community, SRI LANKA, Asia-Pacific Group

Mike Jensen, APC, Male, Civil Society, SOUTH AFRICA, African GroupBiography

Bernadette Lewis, Carribean Telecommunications Union, Female, Intergovernmental Organizations, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, Latin American and Caribbean Group - GRULAC, InvitedBiography

Carlos Afonso, Nupef, Male, Civil Society, BRAZIL, Latin American and Caribbean Group - GRULACBiography

Pierre Dandjinou, ICANN, Male, Technical Community, BENIN, African GroupBiography


Mike Jensen

Remote Moderator

Valeria Betancourt


Introduction to the session
Introduction of the panelists
Acknowledgement of relevant participants attending the meeting
Summary presentation of the issues by the moderator
Reactions by the panelists
Solicitation of questions of clarification from the participants
Open discussion and reaction from the local and remote participants
Summary of the discussions that take place
Closure and thanks

Inclusiveness of the Session

The session will seek to bring government, technical, private sector and civil society perspectives to key regulatory issues. A maximum of 5 panelists/speakers will present for 10 minutes each, followed by a wrapup by the moderator who will then open the floor for general questions and discussion, including reception of questions and comments remotely. This will be followed by a structured discussion giving equal time to the top 5 priority conclusions, strategies and challenges identified. Invited participants are actively discussing best format and will allow this to continue evolving in the lead up to the IGF. 

Suitability for Remote Participation

The format is well suited to remote participation. APC will use its network to raise awareness of the session (sharing information with networks about location of remote hubs for example) and also invite selected experts who are unable to attend physically to share questions with panellists and to provide inputs.

Questions or Comments

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