The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) has today released the newest edition of its annual Affordability Report. The 2018 report marks the fifth year of A4AI’s groundbreaking research into the state of policy to advance affordable internet access across the globe.
New research we’ll be releasing in November shows that the growth of people coming online has experienced a dramatic slowdown, with over half the world — equivalent to nearly 4 billion people — still offline. For billions of those not yet online, affordability is a major barrier to access. A4AI works to drive down internet prices, and the Affordability Report represents an ongoing effort by A4AI to understand why some countries have succeeded in making internet access more affordable, and what others can and need to do to catch up.
The 2018 Affordability Report assesses the policy and regulatory progress made across 61 low- and middle-income countries and finds that, despite growing global attention on the importance of affordable internet access for all, policies are failing to advance at the pace needed to do so. Top findings include:
- Over 2 billion people live in countries where internet is not affordable. Over 60% of the countries studied have unaffordable internet. Just 24 of the 61 countries studied meet the “1 for 2” affordability target, where 1GB of mobile broadband data is available for 2% or less of average income. Across the countries studied, 1GB of data costs over 5% of average monthly income
- Island archipelago nations face the highest costs to connect. New, unique analysis on the industry costs incurred in the provision of internet service shows that the cost to provide one subscriber with mobile broadband data for a year in an island archipelago nation, like the Philippines, is nearly five times the cost to do the same in a coastal nation like Nigeria.
- Policies to advance affordability have barely changed. Year after year, we have bemoaned the slow pace of policy change and urged policymakers to take needed action. Unfortunately, this year marks the slowest rate of improvement to date, with measures of the policy frameworks in place to enable greater affordability increasing by just 1% on last year.
- Across the board, policies to expand infrastructure have faltered. The majority of progress seen in ADI scores over the past five years has been driven by improvements in access policies. Policymakers must prioritise frameworks and resources needed to support the development of cost-effective infrastructure critical to reducing internet costs.
The 2018 edition of the Affordability Report, along with all supporting data and an interactive data explorer, is available at a4ai.org/affordability-report.
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