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Nigeria, others to reach UN affordable broadband target

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Nigeria, Botswana and Seychelles are likely to reach the United Nations Broadband Commission’s target of affordable broadband services of less than 2% of Gross National Income (GNI) per capita by 2023.

This is according to a new report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Measuring Digital Development: ICT Price Trends 2019, which claims that broadband prices in the three countries currently account for between 2 and 3% of the GNI per capita.

The report says in many African countries, voice packages cost 4.5% of average income, falling short of the global average by 2.5%, while mobile internet users pay 11.5% of GNI or almost three times more than users in other regions who pay 4.3%.

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According to the report, in Africa, the most affordable broadband prices are so far only available in Gabon and Mauritius which have managed to position prices below the Broadband Commission’s 2% target.

The Commission defines internet as being affordable when 1.5 Gigabyte of mobile data is priced at not more than 2% of average monthly income.

The research suggests that despite the steady reduction in mobile data prices globally and limited incomes, prices in Africa remain out of reach for a large part of the population, costing more than 10% of GNI per capita.

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, director, Telecommunications Development Bureau at ITU, said: “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 and I hope this authoritative report serves as a pillar of renewed effort to urgently make digital services more available and affordable to all people of the world.”

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