While not the only barrier to access, the high cost of data is the biggest factor keeping people offline. Undoubtedly, those countries/regions with the least affordable data are also those with the fewest people connected to the Internet. A failure to deliver affordable Internet access keeps citizens offline and compounds global inequalities.
From a personal perspective, I have complained bitterly over the years about the cost of mobile data in my country Barbados and how it negatively impacts economic growth and the effective transition to a digital economy. Based on available statistics, the cost of 1 GB of mobile data in Barbados is USD$9.32 (ranked 196th globally).
In comparison, below are the prices/rankings for a sample of other countries:
>> India: $0.09 (1st)
>> Somalia: $0.50 (7th)
>> Russian Federation: $0.52 (9th)
>> China: $0.61 (12th)
>> Denmark: $0.80 (29th)
>> Brazil: $1.01 (38th)
>> United Kingdom: $1.39 (59th)
>> Hong Kong: $2.55 (101st)
>> United Arab Emirates: $3.78 (130th)
>> Jamaica: $3.88 (138th)
>> United States: $8.00 (188th)
>> Canada: $12.55 (209th)
>> Cuba: $13.33 (212th)
>> Bermuda: $28.75 (225th)
High mobile data costs also have a negative knock-on effect on the diffusion of existing and emerging technologies and applications (e.g. IoT, smart cities, telemedicine, mobile payments, etc.), many of them with high social benefits.
Do you know where your country ranks? What do you think of these statistics?