Recently, nTel increased its data rates by over 25%, leading to different negative reactions from nTel subscribers. Other broadband internet providers’ rates are also on the high. The 2017 Affordability Report released by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI)reveals that broadband internet is not affordable in Nigeria.
A4AI is a global body that puts in efforts to make internet affordable for everyone. A4AI has set a target for affordable internet and the standard is 1 GB of mobile broadband should cost 2% of average monthly income i.e “1 for 2”. Having set this target, the body tasked every nation to put this target into adoption.
“What we need — now more than ever — is for policymakers to take the initiative to develop and implement proven good practices, alongside public access solutions that will enable connectivity for those that cannot afford to pay for data,” said Sonia N. Jorge Executive Director, Alliance for Affordable Internet as she called on countries to adopt the policy.
Nigeria, however, became the first nation in the world to endorse the policy. Although Nigeria has endorsed the policy, the report shows that the country’s internet is not affordable; showing statistics that 1 GB of data costs 7.63% of an average Nigerian’s monthly income.
The nation’s minimum wage is NGN18,000, according to the “1 for 2” target, the amount to be spent per 1GB should be NGN360. This isn’t the case as most Nigerians spend NGN1000 or more per 1GB data.
It’s so surprising that nations across Africa that haven’t even endorsed the policy officially are seen to have affordable internet. Nations that have affordable internet in the continent are Tunisia, Morocco, Sudan, Mauritius and Egypt.
Affordability Drivers’ Index (ADI) is the report’s tool in scoring countries according to infrastructures and access put in place to drive down the high cost of broadband internet in each country.
The country’s ADI score of 56.58% was only bettered by Morocco which stands at 57.75% and Mauritius at 61.70%.This indicates that appropriate steps to make the internet affordable to Nigerians are in motion. Five other African nations had average scores; other African nations had really poor ADI scores.
Due to the poor rate of affordable internet in Africa, A4AI has suggested steps that nations can carry out in order to make the “1 for 2” affordability target feasible. The steps include: taking quick actions to improve infrastructure and resource sharing; making efficient use of universal service and access funds and ensuring effective broadband planning turns into proper implementation.