Globally the rate of the number of people coming online has substantially come down, with unaffordability of a basic internet connection remaining one of the most significant barriers, according to 2018 Affordability Report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet.
While the report of last year predicted that 50% global internet penetration would be achieved by the end of 2017, the report says the world would not be able to reach that milestone until mid-2019.
In low- and middle-income countries 1GB of data costs over 5% of what people earn in a month — a price that is well over the affordable threshold of 1GB of data priced at 2% or less of average income. Going by that criteria, only 24 of the 61 countries the report examined had affordable internet.
Island archipelago nations faced the most difficulty in providing internet. the cost to provide one subscriber with mobile broadband data for a year in such a nation, like the Philippines, was nearly five times the cost to do the same in a coastal nation like Nigeria.
“Internet access is a critical driver of economic growth. Good, stable infrastructure is, quite literally, the backbone of internet access” said Dr Omobola Johnson, Honorary Chair of A4AI and former Communications Minister of Nigeria.
The report said that India and Brazil were two of the biggest movers on this year’s Affordability Drivers Index. With its regulator, TRAI, supporting a competitive mobile market, the country scored highest of all 61 countries for market competition in mobile telephony.
The country also had the second highest increase in private sector investments in the market (i.e., investments per subscriber).