According to a report by Alliance for Affordable Internet, broadband still costs over half of monthly income for millions around the world. Three in five of the world’s people are not connected to the Internet. In developing countries, only 31 percent of people are online and in the world’s 49 least developed countries, less than 10 percent have Internet access.
The Affordability Report represents the first step in the Alliance for Affordable Internet’s ongoing efforts to understand why some countries have succeeded in making Internet access affordable and universal, and what others can do to catch up quickly.
Infrastructure barriers to access are dissipating as undersea cables and wireless networks spread around the world, but high costs remain a major bottleneck to bringing the next billions online. The average cost of broadband Internet in developed countries is one to two percent of monthly per capita income which means less than a daily coffee.
In the developing and emerging countries covered by the Affordability Index, an entry level broadband subscription costs over 27 percent of average earnings, as much as most people allocate to basic food needs and much more than they can spend on health and education combined. For those with a poverty line income of US$2 per day, the cost of broadband is even more prohibitive, reaching almost 90 percent of monthly income in Zimbabwe, for instance.
The Report also includes an “Affordability Index”, which ranks nations across communications infrastructure and access and affordability indicators fundamental to achieving affordable Internet. It also explores the key barriers to affordability.
Malaysia, Mauritius and Brazil top the Index, with Morocco ranked as the leading developing country. Zimbabwe, Malawi and Yemen prop up the foot of the table.
The report concludes by making some key policy and regulatory recommendations capable of driving real change.
The goal of the Alliance for Affordable Internet(A4AI) is to achieve the UN Broadband Commission target of entry-level broadband services priced at less than five percent of average monthly income. This will enable billions of people in developing countries to come online and make universal access a reality.
Commenting on the report, Dr Bitange Ndemo, honorary chairperson of A4AI and the immediate former Permanent Secretary of Kenya’s Ministry of Information and Communications, said: “The Affordability Report must serve as a spur to action for policymakers, businesses and civil society organisations around the globe. In just two years, the UN Broadband Commission target is for everyone, everywhere to be able to access broadband Internet at a cost of less than 5% of their monthly income. Our data shows that there is a long way to go before this goal is reached, particularly for the world’s poorest people.”
Sonia Jorge, executive director of A4AI added: “Within our findings, there are beacons of hope. Countries such as Malaysia, Brazil or Morocco, which top our Affordability Index, show how rapid progress can be made when innovative technologies are twinned with an enabling, forward-looking policy and regulatory environment which stimulates supply as well as demand. A4AI is committed to working hand-in-hand with countries to help drive down the cost of broadband.”
Source: Alliance For Affordable Internet