Across the 161 countries globally that have statistics available and were included in the “Measuring the Information Society” report, the price for fixed-line broadband connection varies between 0.3 per cent of gross national income (GNI) and 747.4 per cent of GNI.
Africa as a region boasts some of the most expensive costs of broadband, with Eritrea, the Gambia, Niger, Rwanda and Togo ranking as some of the most costly countries for fixed-line broadband.
The figures compiled by the ITU show in half of all countries surveyed the monthly price of a basic fixed line broadband package costs the individual user less than 5 per cent of GNI per capita.
This is not the case everywhere, with 25 per cent of countries having broadband prices over 5 per cent of GNI per capita, while 17 countries have prices which exceed the GNI per capita. For example, in Swaziland broadband costs 399 per cent of GNI per capita - weighing in at US$874 per month.
The ITU report shows there is a strong correlation between GNI per capita and fixed-line broadband prices. In higher-income countries the cost of broadband is significantly lower than in low-income countries.
However, the cost of broadband has seen the strongest decline over recent years in developing countries - for example, Cape Verde saw prices drop by 63 per cent, while internet speeds soared, bandwidth increased and subscriber numbers grew by 40 per cent.
Developed countries, meanwhile, have seen prices stagnate.
Indeed, the highest cuts to fixed-line broadband occurred in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, both countries achieving over 90 per cent decreases to prices. Nonetheless, these cuts often still lead to prices that are unaffordable compared to individuals’ incomes.
Further, the ITU notes that a number of low-income countries with extremely high fixed-line broadband prices, such as Niger, Togo and Swaziland, did not see costs fall at all, with the ITU warning: “Unless more efforts are undertaken to make broadband affordable, these countries run the risk of being excluded from the global information society.”
With respect to Africa, the report concludes that “more must be done there to stimulate price cuts”.