Western Europe, North America priciest regions for broadband, Sudan cheapest

Broadband, News

  • 3,405 fixed-line broadband deals in 223 countries were analysed by broadband market experts at Cable.co.uk between 7 September 2023 and 10 November 2023 
  • The UK came in a lowly 96th cheapest in the global table (USD 38.79), around five times the cost of broadband in war-torn Ukraine (USD 7.87)
  • Western Europe as a region was quite expensive generally, with no country in the region making it into the top 50 cheapest places in the world to get broadband
  • The United States is one of the most expensive developed Western nations at 155th place overall, and an average package cost of USD 65.00 per month

Data from 3,405 broadband packages in 223 countries was gathered and analysed by Cable.co.uk between 7 September 2023 and 10 November 2023.

Sudan offers the world’s cheapest broadband, with an average cost of USD 2.40 per month. The Solomon Islands is the most expensive place in the world to get fixed-line broadband, with an average package price of USD 457.84 per month. 

28 countries were measured in the Asia (ex. Near East) region, which has an average price of USD 39.88. This global region covers a vast expanse and as such pricing runs the full length of the table from top to bottom. The cheapest packages were found in seventh-place Vietnam (USD 8.72), 10th-place Nepal (USD 9.51), and 13th-place India (USD 9.73). The most expensive countries in the region were British Indian Ocean Territory (USD 167.33), Bhutan (USD 117.75) and Timor-Leste (USD 107.33).

The Baltics, comprising three countries, ranked entirely within the top 80, coming in third-cheapest overall regionally, with a regional average price of USD 21.58. Latvia fared best in 30th place overall, with an average price of USD 16.59. Lithuania followed, in 31st place overall with an average price of USD 16.94. Estonia trailed in third position, in 71st place overall and an average of USD 31.21 per month.

The Caribbean is a region of island nations where the average cost of fixed broadband tends to be high. The average package price is USD 82.94, with most countries featuring in the more expensive half of the table. The cheapest countries in the region were Cuba (USD 29.52, 69th), Dominican Republic (USD 33.51, 82nd), and Puerto Rico (USD 40.63, 103rd), while the Turks and Caicos Islands (USD 212.00, 212th), the British Virgin Islands (USD 189.00, 220th), and the Cayman Islands (USD 155.04, 215th) were the most expensive.

Most Central American countries found themselves sitting in the middle of the league table. The region as a whole has an average package price of USD 105.72, but there is a wide price difference across the area. Ecuador is cheapest (USD 31.05, 68th), followed by Ecuador (USD 35.28, 80th), and Guatamala (USD 32.31, 78th). Meanwhile, the most expensive average prices in the region are found in Honduras (USD 58.00, 143rd), Costa Rica (USD 46.27, 121st), and Belize (USD 43.61, 114th).

Of the 11 CIS nations in the table, with the exception of Turkmenistan, all can be found in the top 40 cheapest in the table, making it the cheapest region in the world for broadband overall. The region had an average monthly price of just USD 16.46. The cheapest nations were Belarus (USD 7.03, 3rd), Kazakhstan (USD 9.08, 8th), and Moldova (USD 9.19, 9th). In comparison, the most expensive countries in the region were Turkmenistan (USD 58.68, 147th), Armenia (USD 18.21, 38th) andTajikistan (USD 17.42, 34th).

There are 15 qualifying countries in the Eastern Europe region, all of which are in the top half of the table, with two (Ukraine and Romania) making it into the top ten, and 10 others in the top 50. Overall the region averages USD 18.06 per month, making it the second cheapest region in the world. The cheapest three were Ukraine (USD 7.35, 4th), Romania (USD 8.60, 6th) and Bulgaria (USD 10.47, 14th). The most expensive three were Slovenia (USD 40.29, 102nd), Montenegro (USD 25.04, 59th), and Croatia (USD 21.94, 53rd).

The 15 countries in the Near East measured for this year’s broadband pricing league span the entire table. The average price for the region is USD 65.75. The cheapest countries were Turkey (USD 10.95, 16th), Lebanon (USD 21.91, 52nd) and Israel (USD 25.80, 61st). The most expensive were Yemen (USD 159.71, 216th), United Arab Emirates (USD 142.65, 214th) and Oman (USD 95.47, 197th).

The six countries in Northern Africa all feature in the cheapest half of the table, with four countries in the top 50. The average price in the region is USD 22.95. The cheapest was Egypt (USD 8.31, 5th), followed by Tunisia (USD 15.01, 23rd), and Libya (USD 19.07, 42nd). The most expensive was Senegal (USD 39.84, 100th), followed by Morocco (USD 34.65, 87th) and Algeria (USD 20.80, 47th).

Four countries were recorded in Northern America, and all of them sit in the bottom half of the table. The region as a whole has an average price of USD 104.33, making it the third-most expensive region in the world. Canada was cheapest (USD 58.26, 144th), followed by the United States (USD 65.00, 155th) and Greenland (USD 114.60, 204th). Bermuda was the most expensive in the region (USD 185.00, 219th).

Of the 15 qualifying countries in Oceania, most were in the bottom half of the table. The region has an overall average price of USD 105.14. The cheapest in the region was Tonga (USD 17.66, 35th), with New Caledonia in second place (USD 27.70, 64th), and Fiji (USD 46.18, 120th) in third. The most expensive in the region was Solomon Islands (USD 457.84, 223rd and most expensive in the world) followed by Christmas Island (USD 141.85, 213th) and Guam (USD 135.00, 211th).

The 11 countries measured in South America span from the upper to the lower end of the table, with a regional average price of USD 38.48. The cheapest broadband in South America can be found in Argentina (USD 5.17 (largely due to recent volatility against the dollar), 2nd), Colombia (USD 20.47, 44th), and Brazil (USD 21.18, 48th). The most expensive packages on average are in Falkland Islands (USD 139.74, 212th), Uruguay (USD 55.35, 137th), and French Guiana (USD 53.84, 133rd). 

44 countries were measured in Sub-Saharan Africa, most of which sit in the bottom half of the league table. The average cost per month in the region is USD 62.66. Going against the trend were Sudan (USD 2.40, 1st place, cheapest in the world), the Zimbabwe (USD 9.64, 11th), and Republic of Congo (USD 12.62, 20th). At the other end of the table, the most expensive was Burundi (USD 304.57, 222nd, the second-most expensive country in the world), followed by Congo (Democratic Republic of) (USD 170.97, 218th) and Mozambique (USD 118.26, 208th).

The 29 countries measured in Western Europe span the middle to the lower end of the table, with none in the top 50 and two in the bottom 50. The regional average price of USD 50.01 makes it the seventh cheapest of the 13 global regions overall. The cheapest in the region was Malta (USD 27.01, 63rd), followed by Italy (USD 30.97, 70th) and Spain (USD 31.99, 76th). The most expensive was Faroe Islands (USD 83.86, 182nd, followed by the Norway (USD 80.18, 176th) and Iceland (USD 76.24, 172nd).

Commenting on the findings of the research, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, says: 

“It is not altogether too surprising that the most advanced, developed nations tend to have some of the most expensive broadband. After all, earnings are higher, and investment and rollout of new technologies tends to be ahead of the curve. Or so one would think.

“It is interesting, however, that the cheapest broadband in the world tends to be in Eastern Europe and CIS nations. These countries tend to have some of the most advanced infrastructure too (high % full fibre FTTP coverage), and are somehow able to offer it to users at very low prices. And although Western Europe, North America and other parts of the world are catching up infrastructurally, the rest of the world stands no chance of matching those price points.

“In a way it obliterates the notion that regions such as Western Europe and North America pay more because of the cost of rolling out new technologies, and actually points more readily to the idea that people in these regions are made to pay more simply because they can.”

You can see this year’s report here. 

Chris Price
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