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#DataMustFall campaign update. Government voices support, but no firm plan yet

#DataMustFall campaign update. Government voices support, but no firm plan yet

We delivered the names of over 26,000 people to government's Telecommunications Portfolio Committee. Our voices were heard, with President Zuma announcing at SONA that "lowering of data costs is uppermost in government's policies and plans" [1][2]. 

But our leaders have failed to commit to our demand of at least a 50% cut in the price of data, or outline a concrete plan and timeframe. We won't make #DataMustFall happen overnight, but the amandla .mobi team will continue to monitor government's plans and work with you to win this campaign. We'll be in touch soon about the next phase of the campaign.

Research has shown that the majority of people in Mzansi access the internet on their mobile phones [3]. From job hunting, help with school assignments and accessing other educational resources online to researching ailments, the internet is clearly the first point of reference to acquire and share information for many. This means that people are able to cut out travel time and costs to go to libraries and clinics, especially those in deep rural and peri-urban areas who have to walk long distances. Cutting the cost of data will make life easier for many of us.

We know Data Must Fall, but it's important we have our facts straight. While we have seen data cost comparisons between Mzansi and other countries, most research does not take into account cost of living. However, research by Taraffic, which adjusts the cost of data with cost of living, has found that among BRICS countries, South Africa has the second most expensive data costs [4]. More research is needed on the real cost of pre-paid data in Mzansi. It's also important to note that the claim that we spend almost 25% of our monthly income on data has been debunked by Africa Check [5]. We also need to look carefully at how we realise a 50% cut in the cost of data. This issue is complicated with many factors to research and understand. The amandla .mobi team will work hard to study research and talk to experts, in order to develop an effective campaign strategy for the next phase of our Data Must Fall campaign. 

Campaign update Data Must Fall Government agrees but we want a plan and commitment small

If we, the people, are to ensure #DataMustFall, we need to organise in greater numbers to demand action. It is evident that the call for data prices to fall is not a middle class tantrum, but a legitimate and pro-poor call to make the internet accessible to everyone. High data costs perpetuate inequality. The internet must be democratised now! Click here to share and tag your friends on Facebook: https://goo.gl/3AUa1v and click here to share on Twitter: https://goo.gl/WDnjQ2

In the past, the amandla .mobi community has won victories for low-income communities. Together we won our campaign to ensure government provides a full subsidy for 5 million low-income households so they won't be cut-off when Mzansi switches off analogue TV. We've also called out the SABC on its censorship policy and demanded that ICASA intervenes - which they did. Working together, this is another fight we can win.

Together for justice,

Thuli, Nqaba and Koketso for amandla .mobi

Sources:

[1] Government admits data costs must fall. Simnikiwe Mzekandaba for IT Web. Feb 16, 2017
[2] Govt committed to data cost reduction, Bulelani Phillipp for SABC News. Feb 12, 2017.

[3] The latest statistics on South African Internet penetration, Sarah Duff for WebAfrica. July 7, 2014.
[4] Data Prices: How SA compares to the rest of the world. Fin 24. 30 September 2016
[5] No, South Africans don't spend 'almost 25% of monthly income' on data. Africa Check.