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Internet affordability gap widens between Africa and global counterparts

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Africa , 24 Nov 2021

People in low and lower-middle income African countries must work four times harder for  broadband internet and almost five times more for mobile connection that is comparatively slower than that received by users in high income countries.

This is according to the Digital Quality of Life (DQL) Index report released by cyber security firm Surfshark, which compares countries based on five pillars that together define the digital quality of life. These pillars are internet affordability, internet quality, electronic infrastructure, electronic security and electronic government.

The research found that in some countries such as Côte D'Ivoire, Mali and Nigeria people have to fork out the equivalent of a week’s work to afford the internet.

Additionally, on average, people in low and lower-income countries have to work more than 20 minutes 19 seconds per month to afford the cheapest 1GB of mobile internet.

By way of comparison, the report said people in high income countries have to spend only 4 minutes 7 seconds, 4.9 times less than people in low and lower-middle income countries (21.33 Mbps).

High income countries also have access to almost three times faster mobile internet connections (61.41 Mbps).

According to the report, the situation worse when it comes to broadband internet access as people in low and lower-middle income countries work the equivalent of approximately 11 hours 10 minutes per month for the cheapest broadband package, 4.2 times more than people with high income (2 hours 41 minutes).

The study also showed that the average broadband internet connection speed in high income countries is four times higher (113.19 Mbps) than in low and lower-middle income countries (28.53 Mbps)

Vytautas Kaziukonis, CEO of Surfshark, said, “Digital opportunities have proved to be more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the importance for every country to ensure fully remote operational capabilities for their economies.However, internet accessibility varies greatly in quality and affordability depending on where we live, revealing deep inequalities between low and high income countries.”

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