Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Botswana’s Broadband costs is the highest in Africa – Report

A fresh report from the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) entitled “The Affordability Report” reveals that basic broadband connection in Botswana is still incredibly expensive and is ranked among the highest on the African continent.

In 2015, A4AI first announced its “1 for 2” affordability threshold which requires for 1GB of mobile prepaid data to cost no more than 2% of average monthly income. However the recent updated report states that a Gigabyte of data in Botswana costs “5.11%” of income whilst Egypt has the lowest cost for 1GB on the continent at 0.47% of income.

However Botswana was praised for funding the development of WiFi hotspots in public sites. “Botswana has implemented a successful, USAF-funded strategy to provide public access to its population, primarily through the use of public WiFi hotspots…..These hotspots provide the public with 30 minutes of free internet access daily and free and unlimited access to select Government of Botswana websites,” states the report.

The same report also states that “The challenge Botswana currently faces is a lack of policy clarity on how to sustain these notable public access and public WiFi initiatives.”

A4AI adds that while prices are dropping globally, affordability continues to be a major obstacle to access that is compounded by high levels of income inequality. “Costs remain highest in Africa, with 1GB costing 9.3% of a citizen’s average income,” reads an excerpt from a statement issued by A4AI.

Last year, their report warned that without urgent action to accelerate progress, the global community would not achieve its goal of affordable, universal internet access until 2042 ÔÇö over 20 years past the target date of 2020.

The 2017 Affordability Report looks at the policy frameworks in place across 58 low- and middle-income countries to determine what changes countries have made to drive prices down, expand access as well as areas to focus on to enable affordable connectivity for all.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper