The report assesses the policy frameworks designed to advance affordable internet access across 61 low- and middle-income countries and finds:
- Over 60% of countries have unaffordable internet. Of the 61 countries studied, just 24 had affordable internet, where 1GB of mobile data costs less than 2% of average income. Across the countries analysed, just 1GB of data costs over 5% of average monthly income; this price skyrockets to around and upwards of 20% of average income in a handful of countries.
- Growth in people using the internet has slowed. The UN originally estimated that we would achieve 50% global internet penetration by the end of 2017; a downturn in the growth of internet access and use means that we now don’t expect to reach that milestone until mid-2019.
- Policies have barely changed. The pace of policy change to drive internet prices down marked its slowest improvement to date. Measures of the policy frameworks in place to enable greater affordability increased by just 1% on last year, despite growing recognition of the critical relationship between online access and economic growth.
- Island archipelago nations face the highest costs to connect. One-of-a-kind 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.