Welcome to the 2017 Affordability Report — an in-depth annual research initiative produced by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).
Based on original research across 58 low- and middle-income countries, the report finds that:
- Internet access remains unaffordable in the vast majority of countries surveyed. Only 19 countries have internet that is affordable (i.e., 1GB of mobile data is priced at 2% or less of average monthly income) for the majority of their populations.
- Countries are not prioritising public access solutions. Schemes to provide free or subsidised internet access in public places are critical to enabling connectivity for those that cannot afford to pay for data, yet effective and funded schemes exist in only half the countries surveyed.
- Official plans to bridge the digital divide are often not fit for purpose or nonexistent. National broadband plans have never been developed or are badly outdated in 41% of countries.
- Policies have barely changed since 2014. A4AI’s experts have been tracking and rating policies in five key areas across developing and emerging countries since 2014. Overall, the average increase in policy scores across all areas was only 10%, indicating the slow pace of policy and regulatory progress.
- Public funds to expand access are underutilised — where they exist. Universal Service and Access Funds — designed to extend connectivity to those who cannot afford access or who live in areas without needed infrastructure — either don’t exist or are dormant — in over a third of countries.