Barriers to affordable broadband access in Cameroon
The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) is committed to drivign down the cost of Internet access in less developed countries. Since October 2013, the global coalition has researched broadband markets, namely, the telecoms operators, regulatory environment, government involvement, and available infrastructure.
In August, A4AI released a case study on the barriers to affordable broadband access in Cameroon. Key points are listed below:
- Main barriers are limited international bandwidth, a fixed-line monopoly, limited mobile competition, a regular without a history of protecting consumers, and weak civil society
- Positive signs are government willingness to develop the ICT sector, new international submarine fibre capacity, and a third mobile operator
- 6% of Cameroonians use the Internet
- Entry-level fixed broadband costs more than 60% the average monthly income
- 340 Gbps of international bandwidth via SAT-3 cable, will increase more than 15x if the WACS cable goes live
The authors propose a series of questions to ponder, including:
- Will there be a neutral regulator?
- Can CAMTEL’s monopoly on infrastructure access be mitigated or ended altogether?
- Will consumers be protected by the regulatory board?
- Can civil society organizations guard consumer protection?
- How can operators negotiate new international tariffs?
- Will 3G and 4G help increase mobile broadband usage?
- Will the arrival of Viettel as a third mobile operator help anything?
- Can a national IXP increase internet affordability?
Note: This case study was prepared by Julie Owono and Felix Blanc of Internet Sans Frontières, under the direction of Kojo Boakye, Policy Manager at A4AI.