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From Highs to Lows – Africa has world’s greatest broadband price decreases in 2010

By Wayan Vota on October 17, 2011

A few years ago, Internet access in Africa was crazy expensive. Entire projects would sink under the weight of a monthly broadband bill, often exceeding staff salaries to be the single largest expense in an ICT intervention.

Fast forward to 2010 and the ITU says that broadband Internet access prices are dropping by more than 50% globally with a special bonus for African countries:

african-broadband-prices-itu.jpg

The regional price trends highlight that while ICT prices are falling in all regions of the world, the greatest price drops occurred in Africa, where fixed broadband prices fell by over 55% and mobile cellular prices by 25%.

Despite this encouraging trend, Africa continues to stand out for its relatively high prices. Fixed broadband Internet access in particular remains prohibitively high, and, across the region as a whole, still represented almost three times the monthly average per capita income. Only one out of ten people in Africa is using the Internet.

Before you let that second paragraph depress you, realize that the ITU may need to update the way it records Internet access when mobile data subscriptions account for 99 percent of all Internet access in Kenya and mobile phones are killing the cybercafé business model.

It may be that Internet penetration is actually higher than 10% now that all that African fiber is being used by mobile subscribers vs. fixed line users. After all, Facebook usage in Africa doubled in a month in 2011, with half of its users globally accessing their favorite social network via a mobile device, not a traditional computer.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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One Comment to “From Highs to Lows – Africa has world’s greatest broadband price decreases in 2010”

  1. Ola says:

    Thanks for this article, it was of particular interest for the data you provided on mobile phone internet subscription and Facebook usage. Do you know of any other sources for getting mobile phone internet usage demographic info for Africa? Thanks again for the useful information.