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Study of broadband pricing in 196 countries reveals vast global disparities in the cost of getting online – UK ranks 62nd cheapest

  • Over 3,351 broadband packages were recorded and analysed by BDRC Continental and Cable.co.uk between 18 August and 12 October 2017
  • Iran offers the world's cheapest broadband, with an average monthly cost of USD 5.37. Burkina Faso is the most expensive, with an average package price of USD 954.54 per month, demonstrating a vast disparity in the cost of broadband across the world
  • Six of the top ten countries where broadband is the cheapest were formerly a part of the USSR (now collectively known as the Commonwealth of Independent States or CIS), including the Russian Federation itself
  • Sub-Saharan Africa fared worst overall with almost all of the 31 countries measured found in the most expensive half of the table, 16 of them in the most expensive quarter
  • The full league table can be accessed via Google Sheets. We have also built an interactive map (below) which can be embedded into your web page

Tuesday 21 November 2017: Data from 3,351 individual broadband packages was gathered by BDRC Continental and compiled and analysed by Cable.co.uk during the eight-week period up to 12 October 2017.

The findings can be studied here in full, while the interactive map (above) offers a visual representation of the data.

Iran offers the world’s cheapest broadband, with an average cost of USD 5.37 per month. Burkina Faso is the most expensive, with an average package price of USD 954.54.

Six of the top ten cheapest countries in the world are found in the former USSR (Commonwealth of Independent States or CIS), including the Russian Federation itself.

Within Western Europe Italy is the cheapest with an average package price of USD 28.89 per month, followed by Germany (USD 34.07), Denmark (USD 35.90) and France (USD 36.34). The UK came in 8th cheapest out of 28, with an average package price of USD 40.52 per month.

In the Near East region, war-ravaged Syria came in cheapest with an average monthly price of USD 12.15 per month (and ranked fifth overall), with Saudi Arabia (USD 84.03), Bahrain (USD 104.93), Oman (USD 147.87), Qatar (USD 149.41) and the United Arab Emirates (USD 155.17) providing the most expensive connectivity in the region.

Iran is the cheapest in Asia (as well as cheapest globally) with an average package price of USD 5.37 per month, followed by Nepal (USD 18.85) and Sri Lanka (USD 20.17), all three countries also ranked in the top 20 of the cheapest in the world. The Maldives (USD 86.08), Laos (USD 231.76) and Brunei (UD 267.33) provide the most expensive package price per month.

Mexico is the cheapest country in Central America with an average broadband package cost per month of USD 26.64, Panama being the most expensive with an average package price of USD 112.77 per month.

In North America, Canada offers the cheapest broadband on average (USD 54.92), coming in 21 positions ahead of the United States globally (USD 66.17). Bermuda provides the most expensive packages in the region with an average price of USD 126.80 per month.

Saint-Martin offers the cheapest broadband in the Caribbean, with an average package price of USD 20.72 per month, with the British Virgin Islands (USD 146.05), Antigua and Barbuda (USD 153.78), Cayman Islands (USD 175.27) and Haiti (224.19) at the most expensive end both regionally and globally.

Sub-Saharan Africa fared worst overall with almost all countries in the bottom half of the table. Burkina Faso will charge residential users a staggering USD 954.54 per month for their ADSL. Meanwhile Namibia (USD 432.86), Zimbabwe (USD 170.00) and Mali (USD 163.96) were among the 10 most expensive countries.

All 13 countries in Oceania were found in the most expensive half of the global table. Generally, larger landmasses such as Australia and New Zealand were cheaper than smaller islands in the region. Fiji, however, was actually the cheapest in Oceania with an average cost of USD 57.44. Vanuatu (USD 154.07), Cook Islands (USD 173.57) and Papua New Guinea (USD 597.20) are the most expensive in the region, the latter second-most expensive in the world.

In a previous report, Cable.co.uk analysed over 63m broadband speed tests to rank nearly 200 countries by the average internet speed they offer. If you wish, you can couple figures from this research to identify countries that are, for example, both slow and expensive or cheap and fast.

Our interactive map shows the contrast in average broadband costs worldwide, visually.

Notes to editors

  • IMPORTANT NOTICE: The numbers shown in the body of the text in this release are reflective of exchange rates as they were at the time of writing. The exact amounts in the full results spreadsheet change along with fluctuations in exchange rate – they are 'live' for want of a better word
  • A full methodological description as well as specific instructions on how to manipulate the data can be found in the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet
  • If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk
  • If you have any questions, please contact Eran Sandhu (eran@cable.co.uk, or by phone on 07583 397 351) and we will attempt to get an answer for you as soon as possible

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Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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