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Broadband prices vary extremely across the world

Have you ever felt that the price of your broadband is too high? We hear you. But instead of complaining, we thought we should find out where in the world we had to move to get the cheapest broadband possible.

To figure this out, we have analyzed and compiled the latest report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and can now present a close look at broadband prices for 161 countries across the world.

Cheap in Sri Lanka, expensive in Cuba

The price for fixed broadband across the world range from just over $5 per month to the unbelievably high $1,700 per month! Still, most of the countries fall in range between $5 and $60 per month.

Broadband price worldwide

Some interesting numbers:

  • The least expensive broadband is to be found in Sri Lanka, at just $5.5 per month.
  • Cuba has by far the most expensive broadband at $1,753 per month. Second most expensive is Swaziland at $875 per month.
  • According to the ITU, a high level of competition among the suppliers and an explicit aim from the government to keep the cost to a minimum can, at least partly, explain the low prices in India, Russia and Sri Lanka.
  • 12 nations have a broadband cost of $10 or lower per month.

We should point out that these prices do not necessarily reflect what a customer in the respective country would be paying for their broadband service. It’s instead a value intended to make comparisons between countries easier. Also, it is based on an entry-level broadband service.

Broadband prices compared to income

Looking at broadband prices for countries across the world is interesting, but does not tell us everything since it does not consider the income of those who are going to buy the service. To get around this problem, the ITU also lists broadband prices in relation to Gross National Income per capita (GNI p.c.).

In this comparison, Macao, in China, has the world’s cheapest broadband with a price equal to just 0.3% of the GNI per capita.

Top 10 countries (Table 1)
Country % of GNI p.c. USD
Macao, China 0.3 8.5
Israel 0.4 8.8
Switzerland 0.5 32.7
United States 0.5 20
Luxembourg 0.6 38.1
United Kingdom 0.6 20
Belgium 0.7 25.2
Japan 0.7 24.2
Norway 0.7 49.1
Canada 0.8 29.5


Bottom 10 countries (Table 2)
Country % of GNI p.c. USD
Niger 193.4 59.6
S. Tomé & Principe 221.3 221.3
Kiribati 228.7 383.1
Rwanda 257.8 111.7
Cuba 379 1752.7
Swaziland 399.1 874.6
Togo 405.5 165.6
Tajikistan 543.7 362.5
Eritrea 720 204
Gambia 747.4 280.3

(You can see the whole table here)

Some things we found interesting:

  • Norway has a relatively expensive broadband, at $49.1 per month. But it is still one of the top ten nations in this list (Table 1) with a price equal to 0.7% of GNI per capita. This can be explained by a very high average income in Norway.
  • Gambia, with a price equal to 748% of GNI per capita is the most expensive country (Table 2). For anyone to afford broadband in Gambia, we can just assume that the income within the country is very unevenly distributed.
  • There are 17 countries that have prices equal to 100% or more of the GNI per capita.
  • 25 countries have a price equal to 1% or less of the GNI per capita.
  • The average price worldwide, in percent of GNI per capita, is 28.5.
  • But the difference between the developing countries, at 40.3%, and the developed, at 1.7%, is very large.
  • One goal of the Broadband commission is that all countries should have a broadband price at a cost of no more than 5% of GNI per capita by 2015. In this report, only 84 countries out of 161 manage to reach that goal.

Broadband prices declining

The good news is that broadband prices seem to be getting lower and lower in all parts of the world. Three years ago, the world’s average price for fixed broadband was 115% of GNI per capita, and now it is down to 40%.

But there are som bad news to. In big parts of the world, the price of broadband is still very high. It also seems like the prices are linked to the nation’s income level, with the lowest relative prices in  countries with the highest income.

So what do you think? What is the price of broadband where you live? Let us know in the commentar below or via twitter.

Data: The fixed broadband is a monthly subscription at an entry level with a use of at least 1 GB. The connection speed in different countries may vary. 

Image top by Shutterstock

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