Technology Africans pay more for internet access due to lack of competition
Expensive broadband is pricing millions out of accessing the internet
In countries with just one major broadband provider, internet access is often too pricey for people to justify, a new report shows.The internet affordability report, published annually by Tim Berners-Lee's Web Foundation and the Alliance for Affordable Internet, offers a snapshot of the barriers to people being able to afford to get online. In 2019, the report identifies a lack of competition in the market as one of the factors keeping costs too high in some countries.
Africans are still paying way too much for their internet access due to a myriad of challenges including infrastructure investment and weak competitive environments in local markets.
Getting all Africans online by 2030 will require aroundwith a majority of that sum pegged for infrastructure-based spending. But most African countries do not currently have policy environments needed to make that spending worthwhile, according to the latest broadband affordability report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). The report analyzes the current ability of national policies to “lower industry costs and ultimately create more affordable broadband.”
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The affordability and quality of service issue is a pain point that effects ordinary consumers and entrepreneurs alike across Africa. Quartz Africa Innovator 2019 honoree, Odunayo Eweniyi, co-founder of PiggyVest, a Lagos-based fintech startup, emphasized the huge gap between what ordinary Africans earn and the relative cost of internet access when she spoke at the launch of the report during the World Bank fall meetings in Washington D.C. this week. Eweniyi was also concerned with the poor connection speeds and overall inconsistent quality.
More African countries are again in the bottom half of the Affordability Drivers Index scores than in the top half. One primary reason, the report notes, is the lack of competitive markets which are home to multiple broadband operators.
The impact of the lack of competition is reflected in the high costs of internet access on the continent with the average price for one gigabyte of data costing 7.12% of the average monthly salary—much higher than the defined affordability benchmark
On average, A4AI analysis estimates users in countries lacking significant competition, also referred to as “consolidated markets”, pay an extra $3.40 more per gigabyte for mobile data.
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As it turns out there are more “consolidated markets” in Africa than in every other continent globally. One prominent example is Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country, where the state-owned telecoms company hason the market. Reflecting the relationship between competitive markets and broadband affordability, Ethiopia is ranked as the second-worst on the affordability index, only ahead of war-torn Yemen.
A4AI’s findings corroborate anreleased last year which showed between the number of mobile network operators in a country and the local data prices with competition driving down prices, . While the price of one gigabyte of data is higher in countries with only two networks, it’s much lower in markets with more competing rival networks, it found.
Loon will bring balloon-powered internet to the Amazon rainforest
Google's parent company Alphabet is continuing its mission is to bring internet to underserved areas through its Loon balloon-based internet service. Earlier this year, the company reached a milestone of over 1 million total hours of balloon stratospheric flight, and signed a contract to offer commercial service in Kenya. Today, Loon announced it would also be bringing internet to areas of Peru. Working together with local infrastructure operator Internet Para Todos Perú (IpT), Loon will use its high-altitude balloons to provide internet access to parts of the Loreto Region of the Peruvian Amazon, where around 200,000 people live.
“In terms of competition, gaps exist. We need to change that equation [because] the only way users benefit is to have multiple players in the market,” says Sonia Jorge A4AI’s executive director. “We don’t think that it’s a cool idea to have people come online just because. It’s mostly because [getting connected] is transformational.
One bright note is that two African countries—Cameroon and Mali—top the list of countries making the most progress in improving broadband affordability. But, as that progress is mostly down to updating national broadband plans, it’s a job half-done “because policy is not enough if we don’t see the impact of policy,” Jorge says.
|Worst ranked countries on broadband Affordability Drivers Index|
|Democratic Republic of Congo|
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The explosion of the SpaceX rocket disrupts the projects of Facebook
These images have toured the world Thursday. Those of's Falcon9 rocket, when it launches in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Thursday 1st September.
But Elon Musk, the boss of SpaceX, is not the only touch in this case. From Africa where he is on the move, Mark Zuckergberg said he was "deeply disappointed" by this failure on his Facebook account, the social network of which he is the CEO, reports.
Explosion of the SpaceX Falcon9 rocket at Cape Canaveral on September 1, 2016.
"Enabling more Africans to access the Internet"
At issue, Falcon9 was home to the Amos-6 communications satellite. Designed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), it was intended to provide network coverage to much of sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2015, the French operatorA major step for both partners whose ambition is to "enable more Africans to access the Internet". The SpaceX rocket explosion is delaying their plans.
Increase the number of people connected to the Internet
The release of Amos-6 is an integral part of Mark Zuckerberg'sinitiative, renamed "Free Basics by Facebook", to connect the 4 billion people who still do not have access to the Web. For several months, Facebook boss multiplies partnerships with local telecom operators to deploy its service.
Available in 47 countries, it offers, through a mobile application, access to several free Internet services in the areas of health, employment, or local information (such as weather, for example).
Free Basics already banned in India and Egypt
Yet, despite the ideal posted, Free Basics is not unanimous.> Read also: Spraying the Amos-6 satellite with the Falcon9 rocket explosion yesterday at the Cape Canaveral launch marks another setback for Mark Zuckerberg in the race to conquer unconnected populations.
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