Emerging Trends | Tariff Policy & Competition
May 19, 2020

Broadband for all must be affordable – new ITU ICT Price Trends report

By Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT) International Telecommunication Union

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, access to affordable digital technologies is more important now than ever – but affordability remains a key barrier to access across many different countries. The newly published Measuring Digital Development ICT Price Trends 2019 contributes to international, regional and national efforts to monitor the retail prices and affordability of ICT services around the world. Below is my Foreword to the report.

I am pleased to present the new edition of ICT Price Trends, the second report in ITU’s new Measuring Digital Development series of statistical and analytical publications, which replaces the annual Measuring the Information Society Report.

ICT Price Trends 2019 monitors the affordability of ICT services by analysing and comparing price data for mobile-voice services, mobile data and fixed broadband.

Following a revision of the ICT price benchmark methodology in 2017, this is the first time we are reporting on ITU’s revised price baskets and, in particular, the first time we are sharing results for the combined data-and-voice baskets introduced after the 2017 revision.

These new results shed important light on the effect of the bundling of services on consumer prices.

The affordability gap

This publication also reports on the affordability gap between developed and developing countries – that is, the difference in prices when these are held up against countries’ gross national income (GNI) levels. It also provides information on countries’ progress towards achieving the United Nations Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development target for 2025, according to which entry-level broadband services should be made affordable in developing countries at a level corresponding to less than 2 per cent of monthly GNI per capita.

I hope this authoritative report serves as a crucial pillar of renewed efforts to urgently make digital services more available, and more affordable, to all people of the world.

Overall, while this report reveals that average prices are broadly continuing to fall, it confirms that broadband services can still be too expensive for the poorest consumers, especially in countries with a low GNI per capita.

The COVID-19 global health emergency has made us all acutely aware of the vital importance of broadband networks to social and economic prosperity and global development.

I hope this authoritative report serves as a crucial pillar of renewed efforts to urgently make digital services more available, and more affordable, to all people of the world.

  • Was this article Helpful ?
  • yes   no
© International Telecommunication Union 1865-2018 All Rights Reserved.
ITU is the United Nations' specialized agency for information and communication technology. Any opinions expressed and statistics presented by third parties do not necessarily reflect the views of ITU.

Broadband for all must be affordable - new ITU ICT Price Trends report

Send this to a friend