In September 2019, the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) — a Web Foundation-led initiative — released new data on the cost to connect to mobile broadband across 100 low- and middle-income countries. The data offers the latest examination of broadband prices in the developing world and represents part of an ongoing assessment of progress towards affordable internet.
In the 100 countries measured, the average cost for 1GB data as a percentage of average monthly income declined from 5.76% to 4.69% — a drop of 11.24%. This fall in costs brings internet access within reach for millions more people and marks welcome progress in the effort to make internet access affordable for everyone.
Across Africa, where internet data remains unaffordable for millions — particularly women — there was a particularly steep decline, with the cost of 1GB data dropping from 9% to 7.1% of average monthly income.
Low-income countries saw the most improvement, a historic reversal with progress of poorer countries previously lagging behind middle-income countries. Overall, low-income countries saw prices drop from 13.4% of average monthly income to 10.9% for 1GB data. And people in low-income African countries saw a 17.7% improvement in affordability, with prices dropping from 15% to 12% of average income.
Despite healthy progress across the board, Asia is the only region that has reached the UN’s ‘1 for 2’ threshold for internet affordability — defined as 1GB for no more than 2% average monthly income.
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