For those that can afford broadband at home, a connection to the internet is often taken for granted. But there are billions of people across the world that are still battling to surf the web.

That shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but according to the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), there are at least two billion who still can’t connect to the internet at an affordable price.

During Mobile World Congress yesterday, A4AI released its annual ‘Affordability Report’, which aims to highlight the nations that are still struggling with broadband connections and the associated prices thereof.

“Across the countries surveyed by A4AI, a fixed broadband connection costs the average citizen 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,” A4AI said in a statement.

The UN target is for universal broadband access everywhere in the world to be no more than 5% of average mothly wages in that area.

The report’s ‘Affordability Index’ divides the 51 countries monitored by A4AI into two categories: “emerging” and “developing”. The top five developing countries taking the most effective steps towards affordable internet are all African, and is topped by Rwanda, Nigeria and Morocco.

The report’s rankings, however, aren’t based on raw costs. They’re based on the “drivers” behind price, which includes scores for a country’s actions to reduce costs in the future too, including whether or not it has a powrful regulator that promotes competition, is freeing up spectrum for operators and encourages operators to work together on infrastructure.

There is still much to be done in Africa in order to bring the pricing down, and the A4AI notes that Latin America is leading the way for developing nations in creating reforms that will make things a little bit cheaper.

Where does South Africa rank of its Affordability Index? Well, it’s all the way down in 20th place with an Overall Composite Score of 43.4.

Below is the Affordability Index – the higher the score, the more affordable internet is in that particular country.


[Image – SAT3]
Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.