Digital Inclusion: Internet Affordability

This dataset looks at the affordability of Internet worldwide.

The price of admission

This map shows the average broadband Internet plan in each country in proportion to the monthly US$ PPP in that country. As you can see in many developing countries a month of broadband access costs more than a month's paycheck.

Page Title
HDI category
Average broadband as proportion of monthly GDP (PPP) per capita - adjusted for males
HDI category
Average broadband as proportion of monthly GDP (PPP) per capita
Page Title
AfghanistanLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development398.87%Afghanistan
AlgeriaHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development15.58%Algeria
AngolaLow Human Development16.88%Low Human Development19.89%Angola
ArgentinaVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human DevelopmentArgentina
AustraliaVery High Human Development2.48%Very High Human Development1.74%Australia
AustriaVery High Human Development1.45%Very High Human Development1.03%Austria
AzerbaijanHigh Human Development39.00%High Human Development35.76%Azerbaijan
BangladeshMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development91.64%Bangladesh
BelarusHigh Human Development2.54%High Human Development2.12%Belarus
BelgiumVery High Human Development1.61%Very High Human Development1.48%Belgium
BeninLow Human Development177.61%Low Human Development177.61%Benin
BoliviaMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development82.01%Bolivia
BrazilHigh Human Development9.32%High Human Development5.82%Brazil
BulgariaHigh Human Development3.94%High Human Development2.39%Bulgaria
Burkina FasoLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development266.13%Burkina Faso
BurundiLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development1237.68%Burundi
CambodiaMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development104.82%Cambodia
CameroonLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development207.12%Cameroon
CanadaVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development2.05%Canada
ChileVery High Human Development4.86%Very High Human Development3.56%Chile
ChinaHigh Human Development5.38%High Human Development4.16%China
ColombiaHigh Human Development7.16%High Human Development5.95%Colombia
Costa RicaCosta Rica
Cote d'Ivoire71.07%Cote d'Ivoire
Czech RepublicVery High Human Development1.91%Very High Human Development1.42%Czech Republic
DenmarkVery High Human Development1.01%Very High Human Development0.93%Denmark
Dominican RepublicHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development37.07%Dominican Republic
EcuadorHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development12.47%Ecuador
EgyptMedium Human Development52.72%Medium Human Development42.28%Egypt
El SalvadorMedium Human Development11.34%Medium Human Development10.69%El Salvador
EthiopiaLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development90.30%Ethiopia
FinlandVery High Human Development1.12%Very High Human Development1.05%Finland
FranceVery High Human Development0.90%Very High Human Development0.72%France
GermanyVery High Human Development1.50%Very High Human Development1.17%Germany
GhanaMedium Human Development79.65%Medium Human Development74.06%Ghana
GreeceVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development2.27%Greece
GuatemalaMedium Human Development24.48%Medium Human Development18.21%Guatemala
HaitiLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development172.80%Haiti
HondurasMedium Human Development28.61%Medium Human Development21.61%Honduras
Hong Kong, China1.35%Hong Kong, China
HungaryVery High Human Development3.72%Very High Human Development2.84%Hungary
IndiaMedium Human Development37.72%Medium Human Development27.77%India
IndonesiaMedium Human Development33.83%Medium Human Development29.42%Indonesia
Iran (Islamic Rep. of)5.42%Iran (Islamic Rep. of)
IsraelVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development1.18%Israel
ItalyVery High Human Development1.70%Very High Human Development1.36%Italy
JapanVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development1.15%Japan
JordanHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development11.54%Jordan
KenyaLow Human Development110.51%Low Human Development103.20%Kenya
Korea (South)1.43%Korea (South)
KyrgyzstanMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development106.14%Kyrgyzstan
Lao P.D.R.70.73%Lao P.D.R.
LibyaHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human DevelopmentLibya
MadagascarLow Human Development195.10%Low Human Development162.79%Madagascar
MalaysiaHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development6.85%Malaysia
MaliLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development102.43%Mali
MexicoHigh Human Development7.84%High Human Development5.62%Mexico
MoroccoMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development9.53%Morocco
NepalLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development29.24%Nepal
NetherlandsVery High Human Development1.30%Very High Human Development1.20%Netherlands
New ZealandNew Zealand
NicaraguaMedium Human Development28.13%Medium Human Development26.23%Nicaragua
NigerLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development523.07%Niger
NigeriaLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development75.03%Nigeria
PakistanLow Human Development97.35%Low Human Development79.92%Pakistan
Papua New GuineaLow Human DevelopmentLow Human DevelopmentPapua New Guinea
ParaguayMedium Human Development221.27%Medium Human Development177.81%Paraguay
PeruHigh Human Development26.14%High Human Development19.10%Peru
PhilippinesMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development54.74%Philippines
PolandVery High Human Development2.14%Very High Human Development1.74%Poland
PortugalVery High Human Development3.29%Very High Human Development2.53%Portugal
RomaniaHigh Human Development2.69%High Human Development1.77%Romania
RussiaHigh Human Development1.55%High Human Development1.19%Russia
Saudi ArabiaVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development2.36%Saudi Arabia
SenegalLow Human Development129.45%Low Human Development110.91%Senegal
SerbiaHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development8.34%Serbia
Sierra LeoneLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development363.41%Sierra Leone
SingaporeVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development1.38%Singapore
SlovakiaVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development1.89%Slovakia
SloveniaVery High Human Development5.72%Very High Human Development5.36%Slovenia
South AfricaMedium Human Development30.26%Medium Human Development22.35%South Africa
SpainVery High Human Development2.27%Very High Human Development1.70%Spain
Sri LankaHigh Human Development14.77%High Human Development11.36%Sri Lanka
SudanLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development69.44%Sudan
SwedenVery High Human Development1.22%Very High Human Development1.10%Sweden
SwitzerlandVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development1.22%Switzerland
SyriaMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development18.36%Syria
Taiwan, China1.37%Taiwan, China
TajikistanMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development220.60%Tajikistan
TanzaniaLow Human Development436.64%Low Human Development455.35%Tanzania
ThailandHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development20.86%Thailand
TunisiaHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development7.83%Tunisia
UgandaLow Human Development388.97%Low Human Development428.35%Uganda
UkraineHigh Human Development5.25%High Human Development4.39%Ukraine
United Arab EmiratesVery High Human DevelopmentVery High Human Development6.61%United Arab Emirates
United KingdomVery High Human Development1.20%Very High Human Development0.99%United Kingdom
United StatesVery High Human Development1.82%Very High Human Development1.36%United States
UzbekistanMedium Human DevelopmentMedium Human Development111.00%Uzbekistan
VenezuelaHigh Human DevelopmentHigh Human Development6.19%Venezuela
Viet Nam24.65%Viet Nam
YemenLow Human DevelopmentLow Human Development70.39%Yemen
ZambiaMedium Human Development116.95%Medium Human Development85.51%Zambia

Average Broadband Internet Plan Price as a proportion of monthly US$ PPP, colored by HDI category, filtered out outlier Burundi

High development means affordable Internet, and vice versa

These scatterplots show the same relation between the affordability of fixed and mobile internet on one axis, and the Human Development Index on the other. The higher developed the country, the more affordable an Internet connection will be.

HDI (2015) and Average broadband as proportion of monthly GDP (PPP) per capita

HDI (2015) and % of average monthly GDP (PPP) per capita required for mobile broadband access

More than half of the world can't afford an Internet connection

For 57.8% of the world population, the price of a fixed broadband Internet connection is more than 5% of their GDP (PPP). This makes their internet connection unaffordable.

Looking at the prices for fixed broadband plans adjusted for purchasing parity in these countries, we can see that they are a whopping $493 per month on average.

We can see that these countries all have a very low percentage of internet users, with an average of 7.9% of the population.

Unsurprisingly, the countries with the most expensive Internet also fall on the bottom rungs of the Human Development Index.

58% of the world population cannot afford a fixed Internet connection (affordable is defined as no more than 5% of the GDP). 

The global broadband affordability target set in 2011 by the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Digital Development aims to bring the cost of entry-level broadband service to less than 5% of average monthly income.

Top 10 countries by highest price of average fixed broadband connection per month as a proportion of monthly GDP per capita PPP.

40% can't afford mobile Internet

Things are looking a bit better for mobile Internet, but still 40% of the world population can't afford it. Looking at the lower end again, we can see that people in these countries would need to spend 138% to 22% of their GDP per capita for mobile Internet access.

40% of the world population does not have access to affordable mobile Internet (affordable is defined as no more than 5% of the GDP).

Top 10 countries by highest percentage of average GDP per capita required for mobile broadband access.

The Gendergap and broadband access

The gender gap and broadband affordability

When we look at the whole world population, there is not a noticeable gender gap when it comes to fixed broadband access: 56% of the female world population can afford a fixed broadband Internet connection, as opposed to 58% of the general population.

The list of countries with the most expensive Internet connection as a proportion of GDP differs a bit from the same list but with the whole population. This could be because some countries are omitted from our gender gap data. If these countries have a gender gap, it's mostly females making more than males.

The same picture prevails: countries that are low on the Human Development Access don't have access to affordable Internet.

Top 10 countries by highest price of average fixed broadband connection per month as a proportion of monthly GDP per capita PPP.

Specific policies to promote free or affordable Internet in public places (scale 1-10), sorted by the average broadband price.

Specific policies to promote free or affordable Internet in public places (scale 1-10), sorted by the average broadband price.

Policies to promote free or affordable Internet at public places

Many countries have at least a few policies that promote free or affordable Internet in public places. Looking at the graph at the left, we can see a concentration of countries with these laws that also have affordable broadband, at the left of the graph.

The lower graph shows the same information, but sorted by the Human Development Index. Again we see a slight concentration of countries with these laws on the left of the graph, where the HDI is high.

Specific policies to promote free or affordable Internet in public places (scale 1-10) of Country datacards mapped by page name, divided by Affordability fixed broadband. Source: WebIndex 2014.

The Affordability Drivers Index (ADI)

A4AI is an NGO fighting for affordable Internet. In their own words:

A4AI is a broad coalition of diverse institutions from different sectors, drawn from every corner of the globe, working together to drive broadband prices down and make universal, affordable Internet access a reality.

Their Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) scores developing and emerging countries on affordable Internet. Again in their own words:

Our Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) looks at the policies, incentives, and infrastructure environment in place across 51 developing and emerging countries, including those policies which we believe drive progress towards more affordable Internet. It then assesses the extent to which these policies are being implemented. The ADI deliberately does not measure price directly — but there is a correlation between better scores on the ADI and lower broadband prices relative to income. In short, countries that do well on the ADI also tend to have lower broadband prices for their citizens, and are likely to be able to drive prices down further and faster in the future.
Though the past year has seen some marginal progress on the affordability front, the generally low scores across the board on the ADI show just how far we still have to travel on the road to universal access. On our current trajectory, we will not even come close to reaching the goal of universal access by 2020. Policy reform is a necessary and critical first step toward expanding access.

As we can see on the map below, Latin American nations top the rankings for the second year running. According to A4AI this is because countries like Colombia and Costa Rica have shown decisive government leadership on making broadband affordable. Colombia not only focussed in increasing access in general, but explicitly focused on improving the lives of the poor. A4AI thinks this can be a model of how ICT policies can be targeted for the benefit of specific groups in the population.

Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) datacards mapped by Country, higher is better

Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) - Worst countries

Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) - Best countries

Another look at the gender gap

Those countries that have the highest Internet costs (as a proportion of average income) not only have the lowest numbers of women online, but also the largest gender gaps in Internet use.

As expected, as the price of a mobile broadband plan as a percentage of the GNI per capita drops, more women are able to get online.

The relation of the price of a mobile broadband (500MB) plan as % of GNI per capita and the level of Internet access among women