Consumers in African countries are paying some of the highest rates in the world for internet access as a proportion of income, due to a lack of competition in local markets according to a new report released Tuesday. The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) assessed 136 low and middle-income countries for their annual Affordability Report.
While overall there was a slight improvement since last year, we’re still not seeing the level of policy change needed to put internet access within reach for the billions still kept offline by high costs. Unfortunately governments seem to be crossing their fingers and hoping that market forces will get citizens connected. With the rate of growth in the number of people coming online slowing, we know laissez-faire markets alone will not get us to universal access. We also need governments to adopt smart policies and commit to serious investment in the sector, including investments in infrastructure as well as digital skills and policy and regulatory frameworks, including community networks and public access options like free public Wi-Fi and telecenters to provide more choices for consumers.
‘Competition is core to success’
“Our research estimates that 1GB data in a monopoly mobile market could be as much as USD $7.33 more expensive than if it were a two-operator market,” the authors said.