Under the Global Broadband and Innovations (GBI) Program, Integra provided technical assistance to African ICT Government Ministries, regulators, and telecoms Universal Service Funds (USFs) that improved their ability to scale broadband technology to rural areas. USFs are state managed funds that collect a small percentage of revenues from licensed telecommunications operators, and use the funds to support the expansion of ICT access to rural areas that would not otherwise be viable markets for service providers.
In Nigeria, Integra advised the government in developing the 2013-2017 Strategic Management Plan for the Universal Service Provision Fund. This plan outlined projects to better understand access gaps, build fiber-optic infrastructure, and establish more 3G mobile phone towers. Integra has been retained to assist with the project implementation, and provide training on monitoring and evaluation. To date, over 4.7 million Nigerians have benefited from projects carried out under the Strategic Management Plan.
In Kenya, Integra supported the Communications Commission of Kenya in the design and implementation of a participatory process for creating a National Broadband Strategy. The strategy will direct the investment of several billion dollars of both public and private money over the next five years, from 2013 – 2017.
In Ghana, Integra supported the Ministry of Communications and the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) to complete a study of the country’s digital divide. Integra designed the survey instrument, which was administered to 5,000 households, and supported the analysis of results. The study found that lack of awareness about the internet was a stronger driver of low use than lack of access, and suggested ways of moving ahead.
Lastly, Integra developed a series of toolkits for USF administrators across Africa, and delivered them through a series of webinars, which were well attended.