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Internet in Africa is 78 per cent less affordable than Asia, shows research

Limitations like these cut off a lot of people from the digital opportunities that higher-income countries enjoy

iphone internet speed testThe average internet speed of 26mbps makes activities like videocalling difficult (Frederik Lipfert - Unsplash)

People from lower-income countries have to work three times harder than those of higher-income countries for the internet which is nearly three times slower. This was revealed in a study done by Surfshark, the VPN company. The research has also shown that the internet is significantly less affordable in Africa when compared to Asia — 78 per cent to be precise. The continent also experiences the sharpest internet divide, with only 55 per cent of the population having access to the internet, compared to 77 per cent in Asia.

Lower-income countries work 17 minutes for 1 GB of mobile internet with 26 Mbps, while higher-income countries work 6 minutes for 1 GB of mobile internet with 75 Mbps, the report has outlined. This speed is enough for streaming a movie, but not so for a video call which requires 50 Mbps.

Many of such lower-income countries also suffer from frustratingly slow internet speeds, making video-calling impossible, while also greatly limiting people’s ability to work/study online. Economic stimulation is also difficult without digital exports, taking people from lower-income countries on a downward spiral of financial hardship.

The divide in mobile internet speeds is further highlighted by the fact that the average mobile internet speed of 26 Mbps in lower-income countries is 3 times slower than in higher-income countries. The situation with broadband internet isn’t too great either, with lower-income countries having to work eight hours more than higher-income countries to afford a fixed broadband plan that is 83 Mbps slower

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There’s also an obvious, unsurprising connection between income and the internet divide, as Ethiopia and Mali, the lowest-income countries in the DQL index, are also the two countries that experience the sharpest internet divide. People from these countries work 51 minutes (14 times more than the highest-income countries) for mobile internet that’s 68 Mbps slower.

First published on: 28-10-2022 at 18:20 IST
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