We’re proud to lead the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). Today, A4AI has released the new edition of its annual Affordability Report, which examines the current affordability environment across 51 developing and emerging countries, and highlights the continued need for urgent work to drive down the cost of a broadband connection. Featuring an interactive data explorer, over 15 detailed country profiles and over 30 practical policy recommendations, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in Internet affordability.
The bad news? More than half of the 51 countries surveyed for the report have not yet met the UN benchmark of entry-level broadband priced at 5% or less of monthly income. None was found to have met this benchmark for those living in poverty (i.e, those earning less than $2/day). Across the countries surveyed by A4AI, a fixed broadband connection costs the average citizen approximately 40% of their monthly income, eight times more than the affordability target set by the UN. Mobile broadband is cheaper but still double the UN threshold, averaging 10% of monthly income — about as much as developing country households spend on housing. The cost to connect is even greater for women and rural populations, who also have to overcome income disparities, infrastructure challenges and other socio-economic barriers in order to connect.
The report also presents an Affordability Index, which scores countries based on the current affordability environment and policies in place to ensure future affordability. As a region, Latin America leads the way toward enabling affordable broadband, nabbing six of the top ten spots on the Index. Costa Rica’s robust national broadband plan and innovative efforts to expand access to rural and other offline populations earned the country the number one ranking, while similar initiatives in other countries of Latin America contributed to the region’s high rankings. While all countries surveyed in the report have a long way to go before broadband is truly affordable for all their citizens, there are many positive examples and valuable lessons to be learned.
Read the full A4AI report, interact with the data, and explore global affordability at a4ai.org/affordability-report.