According to a report released by Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), a global coalition working to make broadband affordable for all, only five African countries have ‘affordable internet’. The five countries are Mauritius, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Sudan.
Alliance for Affordable Internet views an affordable internet as 1 for 2 target. This means that 1GB shouldn’t cost more than 2% of monthly income. Minimum wage in Nigeria is ₦ 18,000, therefore if the A4AI initiative is implemented in Nigeria, 1GB should cost no more than ₦ 360.
The report shows that in countries such as Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Benin, Senegal, Uganda, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Rwanda, Botswana and many others, 1GB of Data cost an average citizen nearly 18% of their income. Presently in Nigeria 1GB cost about 6% of minimum wage.
The report also shows a comparison between African countries’ internet policy and the rest of the world. In the place of policy and regulation for a competition which entails transparency, simplified licensing regimes, Africa scores more than the world’s global average. But in broadband policy, which entails time bound targets, reducing cost and increasing access, African countries score lower than the global average.
In other policies examined by A4AI such as Public Access Policies, Infrastructure Sharing, Spectrum Policy, African countries score lower than the global average.
2016 internet penetration statistics show that about half of the world’s population do not make use of the internet. Global internet penetration was at 46.1% which means that only 3 billion people used the internet last year.
In order for more people to be connected to the internet, data has to be affordable. More countries have to endorse and implement the A4AI target. Moreover, the speed of broadband penetration also has to be better.
The speed of broadband in some countries is rather slow compared to others. According to OpenSignal’s Global state of Mobile Network, South Korea has the highest speed at 37.54mbps, and in Africa, South Africa tops with a speed of 9.93mbps. Nigeria ranks 82nd with 4.13mbps out of the 87 countries. This means that internet speed is outrageously slow in Nigeria. Little wonder Nigeria telcos lost over one million internet users in February.
Action speaks louder than words
It is most interesting that the five African countries that now have affordable internet are yet to endorse the A4AI’s 1 for 2 target. Meanwhile, Nigeria, which was the first country to endorse the target is yet to make plans towards implementation. Words and signatures are not enough to implement this policy.
This has just shown that talk is cheap, words and signatures are not enough to implement this policy, execution is key.