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  • Timothy Laku

Here is a radical proposal - declare access to fast internet as a basic human right!

On XFM this week, we demanded that our policy makers declare access to fast internet as a basic human right. Digital inclusion needs to go beyond connectivity and address affordability.


The internet has transformed almost every aspect of public, private and work life. How do we help everyone become capable of using and benefiting from the internet?

The price of mobile internet in Africa

The cost of mobile data in Uganda is twice what they pay in Kenya and 20 times more than India. Rwandans pay 5 times less what Ugandans pay.


When internet prices are these high across the region, how are we going to empower the rural coffee farmer, second-hand clothes vendor, car mechanic, plumbers et al to benefit from the digital economy?


The internet has transformed almost every aspect of public, private and work life. 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the internet. How do we help everyone become capable of using and benefiting from the internet?


To make sure the web is truly for everyone, we need to provide more than just access. We need to equip the whole country with the skills, motivation and trust to go online, and to be digitally capable


Digital inclusion brings together affordable high-speed internet access, information technologies, and digital literacy in ways that promote success for communities trying to navigate and participate in the digital realm.


To succeed, national digital inclusion programs need to look at these three core areas comprehensively:

  1. Digital literacy is crucial. National policy needs to empower every citizen with the ability to use digital tools, to understand how they work and, at the highest level, have the aptitude to create new tools and services.

  2. Fast and reliable access to the internet is only possible when we have the right infrastructure in place. Several models are already at play but public-private partnerships are perhaps the most successful.

  3. Affordable access is still an issue in developing countries. The cost of mobile data in Uganda is twice what they pay in Kenya and 20 times more than India. Rwandans pay 5 times less what we pay here in Uganda. The cost of 1 GB of mobile data needs to drop below 4% of the average national monthly income.

Helping communities thrive in this digital era requires a comprehensive approach. To be able to benefit from going online means being able to overcome all the challenges for organisations and individuals alike. Declaring access to fast internet as a basic human right is perhaps the most effective way to realize this desired outcome.


Tune in to Digital Thursday on XFM 94.8 from 9 am to 10 am radio.visiongroup.co.ug

Be part of the conversation on Twitter @timothylaku and follow the hashtags below


#DigitalThursday

#DigitalTransformation

#XFM


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