How Much Does the Internet Literally Cost?

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Competition, infrastructure, connection speed. How the cost of the Internet varies and depends on it in different countries of the world – study

British consulting company BDRC Continental together with ISP released a study on the cost of broadband Internet in different countries.

The researchers analyzed the cost of broadband connectivity in more than 200 countries worldwide. Only tariffs for individual users (households), not including additional services (such as television), were selected for the rating.

The cost of broadband around the world continues to fall, while connection speeds continue to rise. Global broadband access speeds increased by an average of 20.65 per cent between 2018 and 2019, while the average price of a broadband package fell by almost one fifth (19.9 per cent) between late 2018 and early 2020.

The most expensive broadband Internet is usually in countries with a slow, heterogeneous infrastructure that only provides access to a fraction of the population. In countries where coverage is above average and the infrastructure is often all-fiber-optic (FTTH), the lowest connection cost per megabit is recorded, if not in absolute terms.

Expensive Internet access still remains in developing and island countries: Africa, Asia, Oceania and Central and South America. Thus, in the rating of 2020 the country with the most expensive Internet was African Eritrea, with the cost of connection of $2.6 thousand.

In the countries of the former USSR, on average, the cheapest broadband Internet in the world. Of all the former Soviet republics, 11 are at the top of the ranking, 9 in the first quarter and 4 in the top ten. Ukraine was on the second place with the connection price of $6.64 per month, Russia – that third ($7.35), Belarus – the fifth ($9.87). Broadband infrastructure is well developed in most of the region, while market competition remains high.

Despite the fact that on the whole in the Eastern European countries the cost of the Internet is relatively low, only Romania got into the top 5 cheapest countries ($ 8.15 per month) in the world. Due to the wide spread of fiber optics, Internet speed also remains high, which is in line with the general trend.

Among the countries of Western Europe, not a single one got into either 10% of the most expensive or 10% of the cheapest. The cheapest broadband Internet in the region is in France, Germany, Andorra, Italy and Monaco. At the other end of the scale were Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands and Jersey Island. This distribution can be explained by differences in the level of technology adoption.

In North America (includes the USA, Canada, Bermuda and Greenland), only Canada made it to the top 100 countries with cheap connections ($34.86 per month). But while the high cost of the Internet in Greenland and Bermuda is related to their geographical location, the high cost of broadband Internet in the U.S. ($50) is due to lack of competition on the market.

The five lowest Internet access tariffs were found in Hungary ($1.66), Kyrgyzstan ($1.26), Nepal ($0.87), Bulgaria ($0.85) and Iran ($0.31). For the most part, Iran, Nepal and Kyrgyzstan offer relatively slow speeds and somewhat limited access. At the same time, broadband Internet in Bulgaria and Hungary is not only cheap, but also fast due to the wide spread of fiber optic.

Of the five countries with the cheapest tariffs, only Iran has an average Internet speed low enough (2.2 Mbit/s) to compare with the most expensive countries. In all other cases, the speed of the Internet in the top 5 countries with the lowest connection speed exceeds the speed in countries with expensive Internet. This is influenced by the level of infrastructure development and the availability of a competitive market with a large number of suppliers.

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