As part of our efforts to advance global Internet connectivity, the Internet Society is pleased to release today a “beta version” of A Policy Framework for Enabling Internet Access, which provides recommendations for policymakers in creating an environment that supports Internet growth. We welcome your comments on the document which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
One year ago this month, through the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), governments around the world set a priority on achieving universal and affordable Internet access by 2020.
In spite of the increasing availability of the Internet around the world, still just 43% of the global population has Internet access.
Of even greater concern is that the rate of Internet access growth is slowing down. If gaps persist between those who access the Internet’s opportunities and those who do not, there is a risk of increased social and economic inequality. We believe an integrated and updated approach to access policy is needed in order to ensure Internet growth continues and meets the challenge of the SDGs.
Based on the Internet Society’s nearly 25 years of experience and our new research in the field, the policy framework describes and provides practical guidance in three interrelated policy areas that are critical for successfully advancing access and a strong Internet economy:
- Expanding Infrastructure: Today, simply promoting growth and investment in access infrastructure is no longer enough to increase Internet use and affordability. Policymakers also need to create an environment where local content and its hosting and distribution infrastructure can flourish.
- Fostering Skills and Entrepreneurship: The development of skilled and engaged people who can create and sustain access infrastructure, online content, and e-services is essential for a sustainable Internet economy and creating jobs. Policymakers need to support professional skill development, innovation, and entrepreneurship, as well as promote digital literacy for all citizens.
- Supportive Governance Policymakers should leverage the expertise and commitment of the range of stakeholders involved in the Internet. Open and transparent policy processes that embrace a multistakeholder approach, improve the ease and predictability of doing business, and support collaborative approaches to addressing Internet trust and security, are essential.
In addition to supporting the efforts of policymakers, we developed this framework in response to requests from our community for additional tools to use in advocating for Internet growth and development.
We are also very pleased to provide this framework in advance of our upcoming InterCommunity event, and look forward to the community discussions about how all stakeholders, including governments, can continue to advance and expand Internet access for all.
With the collaboration and efforts of our broad community of members, chapters, and partners around the world, the Internet Society is committed to connecting the world and ensuring that all people have the opportunity to participate in and benefit from the Internet.