2.4.4 A note on gender-sensitive user fees

Calculating how much community members are able to spend on telecommunication services is very context-specific. Cost can be a major deterrent in access to ICTs. An overall policy framework that addresses the needs of those who would find the costs difficult to bear might include the following considerations:

  • Recognize wage/income gaps in setting user fee rates, both in terms of gender as well as geographic area (rural, urban);
  • Promote consumer/user-focused pricing policies for specific services and community oriented programs, such as:
    • Universal access/service obligations for carriers to provide affordable services,
    • Discounted tariff prices for telecenter-type service providers,
    • Regulatory frameworks that provide affordable prices for all users, including:
      • Price competition among ICT service providers,
      • Incentive programs to increase access (e.g., telecommunication development funds, which can be used to subsidize costs),
  • Develop interim strategies to build membership fees or sliding-scale fee structures.