LONDON -- Data from 3,095 fixed-line broadband packages in 206 countries were gathered and analysed by Cable.co.uk between 28 November 2019 and 8 January 2020.
Syria offers the world's cheapest broadband, with an average cost of USD 6.60 per month. The East African nation of Eritrea is the most expensive place in the world to get fixed-line broadband, with an average package price of USD 2,666.24 per month.
Three of the top five cheapest countries in the world are found in the former USSR (Commonwealth of Independent States or CIS), including the Russian Federation itself with an average package cost of just USD 7.35 per month. Conversely, the United States has some of the most expensive broadband in the world, coming in 119th place with an average monthly package cost of USD 50.00.
Within Western Europe, France is the cheapest, with an average package price of USD 27.81 per month, followed by Germany (USD 28.74), Andorra (USD 32.65) and Italy (USD 33.28). The UK came in 6th cheapest out of 29 Western European nations (and 71st cheapest worldwide), with an average package price of USD 15.90 per month. However, due to lower average speeds compared to much of Europe, it fared far worse in terms of value for money, coming in 23rd of 29 countries in Western Europe, and 81st in the world, with a cost per 1Mbps of bandwidth, per month, of USD 1.07.
In the Near East region, war-ravaged Syria came in cheapest with an average monthly price of USD 6.60 per month (and ranked first overall), with Saudi Arabia (USD 82.85), Qatar (USD 109.87), United Arab Emirates (USD 115.97), Bahrain (USD 145.89) and the Yemen (USD 2,466.67) providing the most expensive connectivity in the region.
Bhutan is the cheapest country in which to buy broadband in Asia (as well as sixth cheapest globally) with an average package price of USD 10.42 per month, followed by Iran (USD 10.50) and Vietnam (USD 11.23) – all three rank among the top 10 cheapest in the world. Timor- Leste (USD 57.33), Maldives (USD 88.53) and Brunei Darussalam (UD 157.02) provide the most expensive package prices per month in the region.
Mexico remains the cheapest country to buy a broadband deal in Central America, with an average broadband package cost per month of USD 33.15. Belize is the most expensive with an average package price of USD 62.54 per month.
In North America, Canada offers the cheapest broadband on average (USD 34.86), coming in 50 positions ahead of the United States globally (USD 50.00). Greenland provides the most expensive packages in the region with an average price of USD 163.68 per month.
Saint-Martin (France) offers the cheapest broadband in the Caribbean, with an average package price of USD 24.65 per month, with the Cayman Islands (USD 150.07), British Virgin Islands (USD 179.00), and Turks and Caicos Islands (USD 310.08) at the most expensive end both regionally and globally.
Sub-Saharan Africa fared worst overall with almost all of its countries in the most expensive half of the table. Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) was the cheapest in the region, coming in 34th overall with an average package price of USD 21.73. Eritrea, meanwhile, charges residential users an average of USD 2,666.24 per month for fixed line broadband, and is the most expensive in the world. Equatorial Guinea (USD 259.38), Burundi (USD 283.73), and Mauritania (USD 694.63) join Eritrea as the most expensive countries in the region, and all sit among the ten most expensive countries in the world.
12 of the 13 countries studied in Oceania were found in the most expensive half of the global table (New Caledonia being the only exception). Generally, though, larger landmasses such as Australia and New Zealand are cheaper than smaller islands states. Palau (USD 89.98), Cook Islands (USD 92.12) and Vanuatu (USD 95.25) are the most expensive in the region.
Despite significant year-on-year ups and downs in broadband pricing in various countries around the world, the average price of a broadband deal globally has fallen by 19.75% since the end of 2018, from USD 58.22 to USD 46.59.
In a previous reportCable.co.uk analyzed over a quarter of a billion broadband speed tests to rank 207 countries by the average internet speed they offer. Cable.co.uk has also measured the cost of 1GB of mobile phone data in 230 countries.
"The price of fixed-line broadband globally continues to fall, while speeds continue to rise. In our worldwide broadband speed comparison, released in July 2019, similar disparities were apparent to those seen here. The countries with slow, patchy broadband infrastructure that supplies only a fraction of the population tend to be the most expensive," said Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk. "Likewise, those with exceptional, often full-fiber (FTTH) infrastructure supplying the majority of the population tend to be the cheapest, if not in absolute terms, certainly on a cost-per-megabit basis."
Regarding the UK, Howdle added: "… with a healthy, open marketplace offering relatively cheap broadband deals to everyone, and so-called 'superfast' speeds available to around 96% of homes, the UK is doing rather well in absolute package cost terms, sitting just outside the top third of cheapest countries and coming in a respectable sixth cheapest of the 29 countries in Western Europe."
He continued: "However, the UK is still heavily reliant on part-copper networks, coming rather late to the party when it comes to pure fiber. It is therefore falling far behind most of Europe in terms of the value offered."
For example, the analyst noted, "1Mbps of bandwidth in the UK will cost you on average USD 1.07 per month, compared to USD 0.12 in Sweden, USD 0.20 in Portugal or USD 0.21 in Spain. This comes as no surprise when you consider that, apart from Virgin Media, which owns its own network, and some very small local providers, the speeds available to UK households have not significantly changed for the majority of the UK population in the last five to six years. Prices, meanwhile, have risen steadily."
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