Nigerians, Ivorians, Malians require about a week’s worth of work to afford data — Report 

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Nigerians, Ivorians and Malians “approximately” require a week’s worth of work to afford the internet, a recent report by Surfshark, an Amsterdam-based cybersecurity company, has found.

The research, titled “Digital Quality of Life (DQL) Index,” said yet, internet quality in the aforesaid countries stands at the lowest end of the index.

Based on the “40-hour work week” which is the accepted standard in today’s workplace, the researchers said, “in Nigeria, one has to work 35 hours 33 minutes to afford the cheapest broadband package (which is almost a full workweek).”

They said the factor value of broadband (or mobile) internet affordability for the study was determined by dividing the lowest broadband (or mobile) internet package price by the average hourly wage in a specific country.

Surfshark said Nigeria has one of the slowest broadband internet networks globally (13.45 Mbps), ranking 105th out of 110 index countries and 96th in worst mobile connections (17.91 Mbps).

PREMIUM TIMES had earlier examined how slow internet affects businesses and makes Nigerians lose out on opportunities.

Global Average of Internet Access
Global Average of Internet Access

Seeking to understand the digital divide people experience in the post-pandemic world, the study analysed internet affordability, and the quality people have in different countries.

“Digital opportunities have proved to be more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the importance for every country to ensure fully remote operational capacities for their economies,” Vytautas Kaziuokonis, the CEO of Surfshark, said in a statement shared with PREMIUM TIMES.

“However, internet accessibility varies greatly in quality and affordability depending on where we live, revealing deep inequalities between low and high-income countries,” he added.

Depending on open-source information provided by the United Nations, the World Bank, Freedom House, the International Communications Union, and other sources, the research considered 90 per cent of the global population, amounting to about 6.9 billion people in its scope.

It found that “low and lower-middle-income countries have to work four times more for four times slower broadband internet and almost five times more for three times slower mobile connection than high income countries.”

On average, the report noted, people in low and lower-middle-income countries have to work more than 20 minutes 19 seconds per month to afford the cheapest 1GB of mobile internet.

But, in comparison, “people in high income countries have to spend only 4 minutes 7 seconds, 4.9 times less than people in low income countries.” 

In addition, the research said, high-income countries have access to almost three times faster mobile internet connections (61.41 Mbps) than low and lower-middle-income countries (21.33 Mbps). 

Average values between High Income Countries and Low/Middle Income Countries
Average values between High Income Countries and Low/Middle Income Countries

The situation is even more troublesome when it comes to broadband internet access, it said.

Home to over 3 billion people, low and lower-middle-income countries spend approximately 11 hours, 10 minutes per month for the cheapest broadband package.

This, Surfshark said, “is 4.2 times more than people in high-income countries (2 hours 41 minutes).”

Other findings of the research showed that the average broadband internet connection speed in high-income countries is four times higher (113.19 Mbps) than in low and lower-middle-income countries (28.53 Mbps).

The study concluded that there is a wide internet speed gap between countries at the top and the bottom of the internet quality pillar. 

Citing an instance of such, it said Bangladesh’s mobile internet speed (11 Mbps) is only 8 per cent of the United Arab Emirates (145 Mbps). 

“There is an even bigger inequality in bandwidth speeds: the world’s slowest internet (5 Mbps in Algeria) performs at only 2 per cent compared to the fastest (230 Mbps in Singapore).”

Despite the inadequacies, the report submitted that many countries have shown massive improvements in internet speeds since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as economies quickly shifted and adapted to the situation.

“As much as 40 per cent of the researched countries improved their mobile internet speed by more than 50 per cent. Broadband internet speeds grew less than mobile in most countries, yet 8 out of 110 countries managed to double their broadband speeds.”

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