ICT policy implementation 5 years back-dated – report
Measuring the affordability of internet access, the Affordability Drivers Index for 2017 (ADI), a global alliance of over 80 member organisations, ranks Namibia 31 out of 58 countries surveyed. A report based on the results of the index was released this week.
On the list of countries, the price of 1GB mobile prepaid data plan as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita which was last recorded in 2015, by income level show that Namibia falls out of the 1GB mobile broadband bracket priced at 2% or less of average monthly income. Price of a 1GB mobile prepaid plan as a percentage of average monthly income, by 2015 standards for Namibia is 2.69%.
“Last year, our report warned that without urgent action to accelerate progress, the global community would not achieve its goal of affordable, universal internet access until 2042, over 20 years past the target date of 2020,” the report said, adding that market penetration of mobile broadband unique subscribers as a percentage of population show Namibia market penetration at 16.22%.
However, out of the 49 existing publicly available policy plans, Namibia is one of the 10 policy plans that are more than five years old. “This is not to say that the content of the plans is irrelevant but regularly updated plans are essential given the fast-changing pace of telecommunications,” the report read.
The 2017 ADI Results rank Namibia as an Upper-Middle Income Country with a access sub-index score of 61.29 and an infrastructure score of 33.6, giving an ADI score of 48.22 out of a 100.
The index further said Public policy for broadband plans, should also set clear targets with explicit timelines that the government, regulator, and telecommunications industry can follow and abide by.
“Plans that set out time-bound interventions and benchmarks for providers and ICT regulators tend to see more success in efforts to improve access and use, and reduce costs,” the report added.
Meanwhile, additional Results Relationship between ADI score and price of a 500MB prepaid mobile plan as a percentage of of GNI per capita show that the higher the 2017 ADI score the less the price of a 500MB mobile prepaid plan as a percentage of GNI per capita. The threshold in price of MB starting to decline at an ADI score of 40.
The report said though broadband prices are coming down, they simply are not falling fast enough, leaving low income earners and other marginalised populations, mostly women in developing countries unable to afford even a basic connection.