Worldpulse sisters with Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI at the Coalition Meeting of A4AI-Nigeria in Lagos


New report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI -,shows that the price of broadband remains prohibitive for billions in developing and emerging countries, with women and rural dwellers hardest hit More than half the countries surveyed do not meet UN Internet affordability benchmark of entry-level broadband priced at 5% or less of monthly income

 At least two billion people living in poverty in 51 countries across the developing world cannot access the Internet affordably. This is revealed in the Alliance for Affordable Internet’s (A4AI’s) annual “Affordability Report”, released today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. A4AI is the world’s broadest technology sector coalition, with Google, US AID, the UK Department for International Development and the World Wide Web Foundation amongst its 70+ members.

Across the countries surveyed by A4AI, a fixed broadband connection costs the average citizen approximately 40% of their monthly income, eight times more than the affordability target set by the UN Broadband Commission in 2011. Mobile broadband is cheaper but still double the UN threshold, averaging 10% of monthly income — about as much as developing country households spend on housing.

The Report says bringing affordable broadband to all must be a priority in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals currently under negotiation at the UN. “In the 21st century, inability to pay should not deny anyone access to the Internet. Universal broadband can easily become a reality if leaders commit to ending anti-competitive policies that keep prices artificially high, prioritising more well-planned infrastructure investment, and expanding public access programmes to ensure the poorest are not left behind,” said A4AI Executive Director Sonia Jorge.

The Report also features an “Affordability Index”, which combines primary and secondary data to score countries on the current and future affordability environment. High scores on the Affordability Index are strongly related to affordable Internet access.

Key themes emerging this year include:   

Women and rural populations face the highest barriers to get online. Social norms, income disparities, and infrastructure challenges all increase the real cost for these populations to get online, leading to their further marginalisation and exclusion from the benefits associated with Internet access. Latin American countries are leading the way in policy reforms to expand affordable access. Latin American states nabbed six out of the top 10 spots in this year’s Affordability Index rankings. Costa Rica’s innovative actions to expand broadband access to rural and poor populations and strong push to develop infrastructure — all guided by a well-formed broadband plan and supported by government — earned the country the number one spot. Robust broadband plans and similar integrated pushes to expand infrastructure found in Colombia, Peru and other Latin American countries resulted in the region’s high rankings. There is a roadmap to progress. Researchers identified five key policy areas which drive high Index scores. When developed and implemented in harmony, these measures will drive access prices down. They are: (i) the existence of an effective National Broadband Plan; (ii) an environment which promotes enhanced competition; (iii) strategies which permit efficient spectrum allocation; (iv) models designed to encourage or mandate infrastructure sharing; and (v) widespread public access through libraries, schools, and other community venues.   Strong political leadership is critical to increasing affordability and access. While clear paths to progress do exist, strong leadership and commitment from the very top is required for meaningful change.

Commenting, Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI said:

“Unnecessarily high prices, in tandem with a failure to expand public access, are still conspiring to bar billions from accessing the life changing potential of the Web. Those most in need of upliftment — women, rural populations and those living in poverty — are hit the hardest. The good news is that a clear roadmap to progress has emerged. Global experience has delivered a set of policies and principles which — when implemented in an integrated fashion and combined with strong leadership — can deliver real change, fast. We urge policy makers in all countries to follow these recommendations. ”   

Allan Ruiz Madrigal, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications, Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications, Republic of Costa Rica, commenting on his country’s top ranking:

"Achieving universal broadband access has been a main focus of telecommunications sector reform in Costa Rica over the past seven years and continues to be a top priority. Our first National Telecommunications Development Plan, created in 2009, aimed to make broadband available to all users, develop access centres for vulnerable communities, and connect schools and government institutions. These objectives were central to our first National Broadband Strategy, which was formalised in 2012 and is now being revised to address barriers to affordable access and further these important aims."  

Minister of Communication Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology, Nigeria, said:

“The Federal Government welcomes the revised methodology applied in deriving the Affordability Index believing that it is aligned with the work we are doing to make the internet affordable and accessible to the citizenry. Whilst acknowledging our rise in the ranking, we continue in our unrelenting pursuit in removing impediments to infrastructure development and internet adoption in our country.   We still have some way to go in meeting our national targets and international benchmarks but Nigeria's improved ranking on the Affordability Index validates our actions to date and shows that we are very much on the right track.”

Patrick Ryan, Access Principal at Google, added:

"More than four billion people are still offline, and the cost of Internet access is one of the biggest barriers to connecting more of the world. There's a huge need to understand what's working to make access affordable — the Alliance for Affordable Internet and its annual Affordability Report are helping us do this — so that we can all work together to put the Internet within reach of more people."

Ann Mei Chang, Executive Director, USAID Global Development Lab, added:

“The Affordability Report is a valuable resource for understanding the global Internet landscape, and its release today is so imperative because it pairs with the powerful consensus voice that A4AI has created among its diverse membership. Together, they offer us a clear pathway towards advancing a more inclusive digital economy.”

As a member of WorldPulse community, I am proud to be representing the community in the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Nigeria. The Alliance has released the new edition of its annual Affordability Report, which examines the current affordability environment across 51 developing and emerging countries, and highlights the continued need for urgent work to drive down the cost of a broadband connection. Featuring an interactive data explorer, over 15 detailed country profiles and over 30 practical policy recommendations, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in Internet affordability.


Busayo, so good to see you post! Thank you for this powerful account about affordability and access to the internet. It's an issue we're very passionate about at World Pulse, as you know! I hope we can see progress on this very important issue... it's because of women like you that progress is a possibility! Thank you, again, for all you do for women's internet rights globally.



Busayo, thank you for sharing this information here!  I am so glad that you and the other World Pulse women continue to be engaged with A4AI in Nigeria; they are doing so many great things.  I too have really enjoyed the report, especially the interactive data part - have you played with that as well?

I'm also happy to share that WP has joined the Advisory Council of A4AI, so it will give us the opportunity to be even more engaged on this topic.  I look forward to more of your udpates!

Thank you, Busayo, for your work in internet access equality. In my work in rural mountains of Appalachia, there are many in the USA who are ghaving similar issues with internet access and affordability. The education it allows is so important in economic development. Thank you also for your work representing all your World Pulse sisters and brothers in A4AI. 

This is so lovely and so powerful. I would love to have the opportunity to actually hear you speak your passion.

I am certain that this October, in Salt Lake City Utah, USA, we will make known to the world that women's voices matter in all things. I am acting as an ambassador to the 2015 Parliament of the World's Religions For the first time, this year, the parliament is having a "women's initiative."

In addition to asking my WP sisters and brothers to consider attending the parliament, I am working with World Pulse Sister Zeph, SHEROES United, and One Billion Rising to create a parade of people in support of social justice for women. Sister Urmila is bringing her menstrual hygiene campaign to the parade event.

I would love to have you and a group from A4AI join us in support of your efforts.


Thank you Obisakin Busayo! That was very informative. I realized that this is an issue but you writing about it made it even more real to me. It's true, there are so many people without access and it can be expensive, even for people here in America. I don't think it's fair. There seems to be a monopoly on the internet. There are those that are making a huge profit off of it. 

I wanted to tell you about this computer I recently learned about, it's called Raspberry. It's incredibly tiny and mobile- it's about the size of a cell phone;

and the monitor;

Unfortunately, this tiny computer and the monitor to go with it are about $100- I know that is still not affordable to many people... but I think about all the people who can't afford a computer or they don't have the space.... people need to have affordable internet and an affordable computer... sometimes in developing countries it might be helpful for some people to have this small computer. What about women that could run a small business to support themselves and they need the internet and a computer? What about schools? Certainly children in secondary school could learn how to put this little computer together and use it for research and doing homework/ writing papers, etc... 

what do you think ? 

Also- another idea- even though it costs $100 maybe a village/ a school/ a family/ etc- could split the cost? That would make it $5 or $10 per person it 10 to 20 people took turns using it