AFRISPA CALLS FOR BODY TO CO-ORDINATE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS AND AN OPEN ACCESS APPROACH

Internet

The association of African ISPs, AfrISPA issued a statement at the WSIS prepcom in Accra last week on infrastructure issues: "Given that Africa is the most unwired continent in the world and part of the Information Society action should be taken;

- In recognition of the various projects already looking at establishing key infrastructure in and around Africa;

- In recognition of gaps both in funding as well as scope of coverage of these projects;

- In recognition of the fact that even the projects barely scratch the surface of the dire need for reliable, accessible and high capacity Africa infrastructure;

- In recognition of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and action plan arising thereof;

- In recognition of many African countries commitment to embrace Information Communications Technology as a key component of national development plans;

- In recognition of the concerns regarding African infrastructure that have been expressed by the private sector, civil society, government and donors.

The African Internet Service Providers Association (AfrISPA, www.afrispa.org) hereby makes the following recommendations as action items from the Accra WSIS Prepcom;

- A regional multi-stakeholder co-ordination body be mandated to co-ordinate and ensure collaboration among the numerous existing projects in Africa under the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD);

- High priority should be given to the development and financing of ICT Infrastructure (fiber optic) within and around Africa in an Open Access Model in order to ensure equal opportunity in ownership and access. For this to happen we request that;

1. governments create a policy environment that ensure nationwide and cross-boarder connectivity,

2. regulators adopt an open and transparent licensing and regulatory regime that propels the access and building of ICT infrastructure,

3. private sector participates in the technological dynamics of the development and also provide hard investment

4. civil society create interest in consumers to demand and ensure service delivery quality and return for money

5. Donors support this development by providing and facilitating access to soft financing and expertise where necessary.

6. Finally that all the stakeholders above subscribe to the horizontal layering of the communication system in the manner of physical layer (infrastructure), followed by the logical layer, applications layer, content layer etc.

For a fuller report of the WSIS Prepcom in Accra - see Letter from Accra at the bottom of this e-letter.