More than two billion people in developing and emerging countries are priced out of accessing the Internet. That is one of the key findings of this year’s A4AI Affordability Report, which is being unveiled in Barcelona today at Mobile World Congress.
Spanning 51 developing and emerging nations, the report finds that a fixed broadband connection costs the average citizen in these countries approximately 40% of their monthly income, eight times more than the affordability target set by the UN Broadband Commission in 2011. 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. Women, the poor and rural communities are the least likely to be able to connect affordably.
At the heart of the Report is the Affordability Index, which combines our own primary research with secondary data to score countries on the current and future affordability environment. High scores on the Affordability Index are strongly related to affordable Internet access. Costa Rica tops this year’s Index, followed closely by Colombia. In fact, Latin American nations bag six of the top 10 spots on this year’s Index. Rwanda and Nigeria are the highest ranked emerging economies, ranking higher than the likes of China, Mexico and South Africa.
Using statistical techniques, the report also maps the links between policy and lower prices, and finds that five key areas are needed to create a roadmap to affordable Internet. These are:
- the existence of an effective National Broadband Plan
- an environment which promotes enhanced competition
- strategies which permit efficient spectrum allocation
- models designed to encourage or mandate infrastructure sharing
- widespread public access through libraries, schools, and other community venues
The report promises to be an invaluable resource for all those working towards affordable Internet. It has over 12 detailed country profiles, detailed analysis of areas such as taxation and spectrum policy and over 30 actionable recommendations for policymakers, business leaders and civil society influencers.
You can access all of the detail by visiting the report online hub at: www.a4ai.org/affordability-report
Comments are closed.