In November 2017, the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) — a Web Foundation-led initiative — released data on the cost to connect to mobile broadband across 59 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.
This year’s data — collected at the end of 2016 — reveals that while mobile broadband affordability continues to improve globally, the cost to connect remains out of reach for many.
- Just 19 of the countries surveyed meet A4AI’s “1 for 2” target for affordable internet — 1GB of mobile data available for 2% or less of average monthly income.
- Across all 59 countries, the cost to connect averages nearly 6% of monthly income. Broadband is most affordable in the Asia-Pacific region, where 1GB of mobile data costs 2.5% of average monthly income; it is most expensive in Africa, where 1GB costs 9.3% of average income.
- Though the cost to connect is highest in Africa, the continent also experienced the most significant cost reductions — the region’s average drop of 3.2 percentage points drove most of the global improvement in affordability.
- While prices are dropping globally, affordability continues to be a major obstacle to access — an obstacle that is compounded by high levels of income inequality. Even in countries like Colombia and the Philippines, where 1GB is priced at around 2% of average income, the lowest 20% of income earners have to pay, respectively, 11% and 6% of their income for 1GB of mobile data.
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Learn more about the research, its findings and implications here