Highlights

Here is a quick look at some of the highlights unearthed in the study

  • Ukraine

    #1. Ukraine

    Broadband in Ukraine is fast and cheap, though take-up is still relatively low – around half the population has internet access compared to 90% in the UK, for example.

  • Sri Lanka

    #2. Sri Lanka

    Sri Lankan broadband is supplied by incumbent provider Sri Lanka Telecom, providing 21Mbps ADSL and 100Mbps FTTH. It is incredibly cheap, with ADSL available from just $3.19 per month.

  • Iran

    #3. Iran

    Though relatively slow (512Kbps to 16Mbps), Iran has a healthy ADSL marketplace, with providers such as Shatel, Shahred and Pishgaman competing to offer some of the cheapest connectivity in the world.

  • Russian Federation

    #4. Russian Federation

    Russian broadband is cheap and fast, with both ADSL and FTTH offered in major cities. Providers such as Speedyline and Rynet offer speeds up to 250Mbps for as little as $13.51 per month.




  • Five most expensive packages in the world

    The five most expensive consumer broadband packages on the planet are found in Burkina Faso ($651.72), Laos ($818.13), Namibia ($1117.87), Mauritania ($1368.72) and Papua New Guinea ($1849.09).

    The expense comes from a combination of extremely low take-up (no economy of scale) and the fact that in most cases the price you pay will go in large part to actually building a physical line to your property since few already exist. These 'works costs' rise exponentially the further your abode sits from each country's main urban centres.

  • Five cheapest packages in the world

    The five cheapest packages come from Syria ($2.42), Ukraine ($2.16), Iran ($1.87), Venezuela ($1.68), and Kyrgystan ($1.27).

    When it comes to cheapest, though, don't expect a fast (or even in some cases, reliable) connection for the most part, with Syria, Iran, Venezuela and Kyrgystan all offering relatively slow speeds and somewhat limited availability. Ukraine is the exception here, with broadband that is not only cheap, but also fast – its cheapest package offers a very serviceable 20Mbps.




  • How fast are the five most expensive packages?

    A quick glance is enough to see that, generally speaking, the most expensive countries in the world for broadband are also some of the slowest. All of them average less that 5Mbps, which is too slow to stream an HD movie – something you're sure to want if you're paying $500 or more for your broadband every month.

    Mauritania, the most expensive country recorded in this year's study, is also one of the slowest in the world, offering average speeds of just 0.7Mbps – too slow even for standard definition video.

  • How fast are the five cheapest packages?

    Of the five cheapest countries for broadband, Iran is the only country with average measured speeds low enough (2.2Mbps) to compare with those of the five most expensive. In all other cases the speeds offered by the five cheapest exceed those of the five most expensive.

    This should come as no major surprise. As a general rule, countries which offer cheap broadband do so as a result of having a homogeneous, reliable infrastructure and a healthy, competitive marketplace with a large number of providers.


  • Asia (excl. Near East)

    The Asian region is something of a mixed bag – one of the few regions that truly spans the entire width of the table, being neither dominantly cheap nor dominantly expensive.

    Sri Lanka, Iran, Nepal and Mongolia all fall in the top 20 cheapest countries, while Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Maldives, Brunei Darussalam and Laos all sit in the most expensive half of the table. Sri Lanka is the second-cheapest country in the world for broadband on average, while Singapore offers the best value, with a staggeringly low $0.03 average cost per megabit.

  • Baltics

    The Baltic region consists of only three countries: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. All three have a reputation for very fast broadband, thanks to each country's dominant application of FTTH as the leading technology.

    In all three countries, the focus on pure fibre has led not only to some of the fastest broadband packages in the world (up to 1Gbps), but also some of the cheapest, with Lithuania also offering some of the best value broadband in the world at just $0.09 per megabit per second.

    Every country in this region sits comfortably in the top 40 least expensive countries to get a broadband deal.

  • Caribbean

    Caribbean nations and territories sit almost universally in the most expensive end of the table, largely thanks to their problematic geography. Caribbean nations have been more hesitant in adopting fixed-line broadband solutions, largely favouring mobile broadband and 3G/LTE solutions as a means to get online.

    Where available, fixed-line broadband is an expensive commodity whose limited uptake is exacerbating these high prices in many cases. Saint Martin (France) has the cheapest broadband in the Caribbean with an average package price of $23.78, while Haiti offers the most expensive, with an average package price of $207.39.


  • Central America

    Generally, Central American countries are at the more expensive end of the table, though it must be said, not considerably so. Many Central American countries have comparatively slow broadband compared to North America and Europe. Again the problem of low uptake leads to less healthy markets and greater expense.

    Mexico offers the cheapest broadband in the region on average, coming in 45th in the global league with an average package price of $33.32. Panama is the most expensive in the region with an average package price of $108.38.

  • CIS (Former USSR)

    CIS is by far and away the cheapest region in the world for broadband, with 10 of its 12 countries comfortably in the top half of the table, eight in the top quarter and four in the top ten. Ukraine is the cheapest country in the world for broadband with an average package price of just $5.00, followed in fourth place overall by the Russian Federation ($9.77), fifth place Belarus ($10.46) and sixth place Moldova ($11.28).

    Broadband infrastructure is well developed throughout most of the region, with healthy competitive markets for the most part. Exceptions are Turkmenistan and Kyrgystan whose relatively sparse populations do little to foster a healthy broadband marketplace.

  • Eastern Europe

    All 13 countries in the Eastern Europe region fell within the top 50 cheapest in the world. Only one country in this region made it into the top ten, however: Romania, in tenth place with an average broadband package cost of $14.42.

    Broadband in Eastern Europe is not only cheap, but (much like the Baltic region) very quick due to high saturation of FTTP. For example, Romania and Hungary (first and third in this region) both find themselves among the top ten fastest countries in the world. Bucking no trends here as, once again, where broadband is quick, it's also cheap.


  • Near East

    The Near East is a little unusual. As a geographic region it encompasses a variety of different technological cultures with uptake, speed and price varying wildly across the board.

    At the cheapest end of the region we have Syria, Israel and Turkey coming in seventh, eighth and 12th globally. The Arab States, however, fare far worse, coming in towards the bottom end of the table, generally speaking. Saudi Arabia ($95.72), Bahrain ($96.29), Qatar ($140.58), Oman ($150.63) and United Arab Emirates ($157.10) are all found in the quarter most expensive countries, with the latter falling in 183rd place overall.

  • Northern Africa

    Only four Northern Africa nations offered qualifying broadband packages, with Libya and the disputed region of Western Sahara comprising the most notable absentees.

    Perhaps surprisingly – compared to the generally very expensive Sub-Saharan African nations – countries in Northern Africa all fell within the top 100 cheapest countries in the world. Egypt fared particularly well, making it into the top ten cheapest countries in the world for broadband, with an average package price of just $13.58. Tunisia also fared well in 27th place overall and an average package price of $24.28.

  • Northern America

    There are only four countries considered Northern America: Canada, the United States, Greenland and Bermuda. Conversely to what one might expect, this region is on the expensive side, with only Canada scraping into the top 100 cheapest in 97th place with an average broadband package price of $57.66.

    Both Greenland and Bermuda can blame their expensive packages on geography and uptake, but what about the United States? At .69 on average and coming in in 119th place worldwide, one would expect American packages to be considerably cheaper. But while broadband in the United States is widely available and uptake is high, lack of competition in the marketplace means Americans pay far more than they should, compared to much of the rest of the world.


  • Oceania

    No two ways about it, Oceania is expensive across the board. Of the 12 qualifying countries in the region only Australia makes it into the top 100 cheapest in 84th place overall, and with an average package price of $52.77.

    Much like the Caribbean, the primary reason for expense across the region is the numerical dominance of the island states. Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Vanuatu and others could all be described as geographically remote when compared alongside the world's continental states. As a result of logistical difficulties, populations have learned to rely heavily on mobile 3G/LTE to stay connected, keeping uptake low and pricing high on fixed broadband solutions.

  • South America

    All but one of South America's ten qualifying countries features in the top 100 cheapest in the world. Most notable of these is Argentina, coming in at a respectable average 11th cheapest in the world for broadband deals.

    Paraguay is the region's outlier, coming in 191st place (fifth last), with an average broadband package price of $210.83. South America, and many of the countries within it, comprise vast landmasses, often with difficult terrain. As a rule, broadband is fairly slow in this region and difficult to get hold of outside large conurbations.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa

    Although this vast region contains 31 qualifying countries, it also contains the highest number of countries which failed to qualify due to insufficient or non-existent fixed-line broadband packages. The absentees are: Central African Republic, Western Sahara, Eritrea, Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Kiribati, Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Chad, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

    Most Sub-Saharan African nations fall in the bottom half of the table, and the region also contains the greatest density of countries in the 10% most expensive in the world, with Mali, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Namibia and Mauritania all among the ten most expensive.


  • Western Europe

    Of the 29 qualifying countries in Western Europe, none made it into the top or bottom 10% of the table. Italy, France, Germany, Monaco and the United Kingdom lead the way, offering the cheapest broadband deals on average in the region. At the other end of the scale, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands and Switzerland form the five most expensive.

    It's a pretty unreadable pattern, largely thanks to differing technological cultures with varying levels of adoption. Jersey is of particular note as it offers the best value in the region with a cost per megabit per second of just $0.12. This is thanks to the 100% universal availability of FTTH on the island, delivering very high average speeds.



Resources

Downloadable versions of the data set (.xls), the original press release and the research methodology (.pdf)

  • Press Pack

    This .zip file contains various images to support the data that you may use if publishing an article or paper.

  • Press release

    If you wish to see the original press release for this research, you can download it here as a PDF.

  • Methodology

    An in-depth research methodology which answers most questions concerning method, omissions and inclusions.



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