Global broadband digital divide widens -

The digital divide is growing wider across the world as broadband access becomes out of reach for many in emerging markets.

While prices are generally on a downward trajectory, a new report from analysts at Ovum has shown that those in emerging markets are paying significantly more for their broadband.

According to a survey of 19 emerging markets, it was found that some countries are charging over triple what developed nations have to shell out for what is increasingly seen as a basic human right.

Areas such as South Africa, Nigeria and Colombia are hit by “stifling prices” according to analyst Richard Hurst, and this is seriously harming growth potential.

Staggeringly there are some areas where broadband pricing sat at double or even triple compared to the same service in a developed market.

In South Africa, for instance, entry level services went as high as $1,443 per year, with high end services reaching an enormous $6,000.

Coupled with the fact that many of the countries involved in the survey were not particularly well off it makes for grim reading.

While those at the top of the pile can afford to pay exorbitant prices, which put even Virgin Media’s top prices to shame, it means that broadband access for the average person is woefully out of reach. 

Nigeria is one place where this is particularly clear.  With one of the lowest GDP per capita of the 19 nations in the study, its broadband is perhaps the most unattainable.  Entry level services cost up to $1,211 per year.

There are hopes of a network providers reducing prices soon in a bid to attract more subscribers, which in turn will spur on further drops.

But for emerging markets mobile internet continues to be the main way to get online.

HSPA was found the cheapest, with an average price of $223 per year.

Though it's a cheaper option than DSL lines or LTE and WiMAX, the downside is that data allowances are significantly lower. DSL lines can be exorbitant in pricing but for overall value-for-money, it is the only way to go in emerging markets, according to Ovum.