Selection Step 3a: Selecting an Affordable Last-Mile Connectivity Solution

To identify suitable last-mile connectivity interventions, after a specific unconnected geography / locality has been selected, it is necessary to first determine the five main aspects of a given situation that serve as binding constraints and can provide direction for any possible solution. These are depicted in the figure to the right, which demonstrates that identifying the most feasible and affordable last-mile Internet connectivity solution is a matter of fit between different aspects and can be considered an iterative process that requires identification and refinement of the options and selections made within the dimensions of the following factors:

  1. Affordability – Ensuring that connectivity service user pricing falls within a given affordability threshold, such as the 2 per cent of monthly GNI per capita for 1GB of mobile broadband data discussed above.
  2. Usage – Identifying the applications and services that need to be available to the locality, and the level of QoS that those applications and services require.
  3. Financial viability – This includes measuring the economic viability for private investment of the connectivity service, based on estimates of ARPU, availability of backhaul / middle-mile connectivity, options for different local access technologies and the potential level of the service’s QoS.
  4. Structure – This involves articulating the service delivery business model and identifying any regulatory constraints on the model and technologies utilized.
  5. Sustainability – This requires an understanding of the service’s revenue model and of any potential subsidy (one-time and/or recurring).

Figure 32: Components in selecting an affordable last-mile connectivity solution