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Study Ranks UK 61st Cheapest in the World for Broadband Internet

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018 (9:11 am) - Score 1,060
cheapest countries for broadband world map 2018

A new study from research group M-Lab and Cable.co.uk has examined ISPs and 3,303 packages from 195 countries across the world to produce a comparison of fixed line broadband prices, which reveals that the average monthly cost of internet access is cheapest in the Ukraine ($5 USD), while the UK ranks only 61st ($39.58).

However it’s important to reflect that the core ranking of this study doesn’t tell the whole story and the research wisely reflects this. For example, Iran is ranked as the 3rd cheapest ($8.20) but it’s also a market that is dominated by older style slow copper ADSL lines and if the table were re-ordered by “Cost per Megabit of Download Speed” then they would drop all the way down to 90th position.

Similarly the United Kingdom may look a little poor in 61st place and granted we could be doing a lot better, but our global ranking is still up from 65th last year and if the table were re-ordered to look at ‘cost per megabit‘ then we’d rise to 54th position. On top of that the UK is also the 5th cheapest of 29 countries in Western Europe, topped by only Italy, France, Germany and Monaco.

On the other hand if we rank the states of Western Europe by ‘cost per megabit‘ then the UK really suffers and is ranked 21st out of the 29. One of the reasons for this is due to our notoriously weak position in “ultrafast broadband” (100Mbps+) coverage, particularly with respect to “full fibre” (FTTP) networks (see here for context). But there’s a catch here too because the UK has a stronger level of “superfast broadband” (30Mbps+) availability than most of Western Europe, thanks to wide coverage of FTTC (VDSL2) services.

Now spare a thought for the poor folk living in the most expensive country of the world – Mauritania – where the average monthly cost of a broadband package is an eye watering $768.16, while the ‘cost per megabit‘ shows little improvement on $127.15. Ouch!

Dan Howdle, Cable’s Consumer Telecoms Analyst, said:

“Despite many countries providing faster access year-on-year, and the price of broadband fluctuating – sometimes wildly – from country to country, on average the price of broadband worldwide remains largely unchanged, falling just 1.64% since the fourth quarter of 2017.

In our worldwide broadband speed comparison, released earlier this year, similar disparities were apparent to those seen here. The countries with slow, patchy broadband infrastructure that connects only a fraction of the population also tend to be the most expensive. Likewise, those with exceptional, often full-fibre infrastructure supplying the majority of the population tend to be the cheapest, if not in absolute terms, on a cost-per-megabit basis.

The United States is a point of particular interest in the data. As arguably the world’s most technologically advanced Western nation, its broadband is shockingly expensive compared to much of the world. In fact, it costs seven times as much to get a broadband deal in the United States as it does to get one in Russia, and over 64% more than it does in China.

As for the UK, with a healthy, open marketplace offering very cheap broadband deals to everyone, and so-called ‘superfast’ speeds available to around 96% of homes, the UK is doing rather well globally, sitting in the top third of cheapest countries, and coming in a respectable fifth cheapest of the 29 countries in Western Europe.”

We’ve pasted a shortened summary of the results below and it’s worth noting that the study excludes 4G mobile, wireless and satellite services in order to focus on fixed line connectivity. But rather bizarrely they’ve also decided that “dial-up” connections should be included under the “broadband” title, even though they’re narrowband in nature. We would have preferred a stronger definition of “broadband” to be used.

Research like this also cannot easily reflect the often complex differences between packages, such as any value-added extras (static IP addresses, different router quality, anti-virus controls etc.). Doing a true apples-to-apples comparison would be nightmarishly difficult, but it would be interesting to see what happens to the results if each country were weighted to reflect cost using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP).

Rank Name Packages measured Average cost of broadband (monthly in USD) Average cost of broadband (Per megabit per month in USD) Last year’s rank (by average cost of broadband per month in USD)
1 Ukraine 15 $5.00 $0.04 2
2 Sri Lanka 3 $5.65 $0.49 17
3 Iran 36 $8.20 $2.89 1
4 Russian Federation 28 $9.77 $0.32 3
5 Belarus 22 $10.46 $0.75 7
6 Moldova 11 $11.28 $0.27 4
7 Syria 41 $13.00 $4.30 5
8 Israel 28 $13.02 $0.42 18
9 Egypt 32 $13.58 $4.48 6
10 Romania 20 $14.42 $0.66 9
11 Argentina 27 $15.51 $1.29 19
12 Turkey 35 $15.96 $0.47 21
13 Kazakhstan 19 $16.14 $11.23 8
14 Nepal 31 $16.47 $1.37 10
15 Lithuania 20 $16.84 $0.09 121
16 Mongolia 23 $17.97 $3.87 23
17 Poland 40 $18.27 $0.11 13
18 Hungary 22 $18.37 $0.25 25
19 Latvia 18 $18.68 $0.31 16
20 Georgia 25 $18.70 $2.06 14
21 Serbia 21 $19.24 $1.09 15
22 Venezuela 10 $20.03 $7.64 73
23 Uzbekistan 33 $21.26 $4.56 27
24 Slovakia 32 $21.62 $0.88 22
25 Yemen 5 $22.17 $20.24 24
26 Saint Martin (France) 5 $23.78 $3.08 20
27 Tunisia 38 $24.28 $1.52 12
28 Pakistan 33 $24.87 $3.03 44
29 Thailand 19 $25.58 $0.33 28
30 Czech Republic 16 $25.94 $0.57 34
31 Taiwan 41 $26.39 $0.92 31
32 Croatia 23 $26.74 $1.02 26
33 Estonia 5 $27.63 $0.50 30
34 India 34 $28.23 $0.60 48
35 Tajikistan 16 $29.16 $34.68 11
36 Italy 20 $29.48 $3.52 35
37 Macedonia 18 $29.50 $0.87 47
38 Dominican Republic 18 $29.66 $15.46 42
39 Bulgaria 17 $30.27 $0.19 32
40 France 16 $31.14 $0.54 52
41 Slovenia 13 $31.72 $2.01 38
42 Palestine, State of 16 $31.79 $1.76 53
43 South Korea 18 $32.29 $0.21 33
44 Albania 21 $33.17 $1.35 46
45 Mexico 28 $33.32 $1.61 29
46 Algeria 5 $33.51 $7.57 39
47 Montenegro 12 $33.87 $1.17 40
48 Réunion 6 $35.45 $0.34 37
49 Bosnia and Herzegovina 40 $35.47 $3.44 54
50 Sudan 10 $35.86 $11.13 50
51 Bangladesh 25 $36.33 $5.86 58
52 Saint Barthélemy (St. Barts) 6 $36.62 $3.10 55
53 Germany 38 $36.68 $0.67 45
54 Azerbaijan 41 $36.97 $8.11 57
55 Monaco 5 $37.00 $0.17 70
56 Japan 35 $37.15 $1.81 83
57 Myanmar 22 $37.56 $10.00 131
58 Lebanon 26 $37.60 $18.29 97
59 French Guiana 5 $39.15 $3.78 64
60 El Salvador 11 $39.32 $4.49 115
61 United Kingdom 36 $39.58 $1.19 65
62 Guatemala 12 $41.27 $12.21 71
63 China 23 $41.29 $0.42 41
64 Spain 22 $42.38 $0.66 68
65 Mayotte 6 $43.16 $11.12 74
66 Martinique 6 $43.50 $3.56 67
67 Macau 9 $43.72 $1.62 66
68 Colombia 21 $44.81 $2.02 93
69 Chile 26 $45.50 $0.53 78
70 Belgium 25 $45.68 $0.86 84
71 Peru 20 $45.94 $2.76 75
72 Sint Maarten 9 $46.08 $7.74 128
73 Uruguay 22 $46.50 $3.78 61
74 Armenia 41 $46.79 $6.59 80
75 Bolivia 36 $47.83 $9.19 145
76 Malaysia 27 $47.92 $3.06 76
77 Brazil 33 $48.00 $2.18 36
78 Singapore 8 $50.43 $0.03 59
79 Austria 22 $50.70 $0.77 81
80 Denmark 18 $51.11 $0.83 49
81 Iraq 7 $51.95 $1.90 88
82 Finland 7 $52.23 $0.41 69
83 Morocco 11 $52.74 $2.27 62
84 Australia 27 $52.77 $1.80 105
85 Afghanistan 20 $52.78 $34.68 113
86 Andorra 4 $52.80 $4.86 NEW
87 Cyprus 19 $53.01 $2.87 79
88 Philippines 28 $53.14 $3.29 85
89 Malta 12 $53.70 $0.91 160
90 Gibraltar 9 $54.07 $0.90 82
91 Kuwait 40 $54.60 $4.76 92
92 Indonesia 22 $54.85 $0.91 126
93 South Africa 36 $55.25 $3.49 102
94 Sweden 12 $55.99 $0.40 91
95 San Marino 7 $56.17 $0.51 63
96 Falkland Islands 3 $57.48 $24.02 101
97 Canada 28 $57.66 $2.03 90
98 Greece 18 $58.22 $0.86 95
99 Jersey 7 $58.22 $0.12 98
100 Belize 3 $58.58 $5.65 157
101 Cameroon 6 $58.75 $43.97 119
102 New Zealand 36 $58.77 $0.55 110
103 The Netherlands 22 $59.23 $0.83 77
104 Guadeloupe 6 $60.23 $2.49 111
105 Grenada 8 $60.37 $2.67 99
106 Trinidad and Tobago 19 $60.77 $3.33 132
107 Portugal 12 $61.15 $0.71 87
108 Cambodia 34 $62.29 $19.41 89
109 Ecuador 32 $62.45 $2.61 109
110 Jamaica 12 $62.57 $4.89 107
111 Guernsey 6 $62.68 $1.79 86
112 Puerto Rico 29 $63.45 $7.87 118
113 Nicaragua 13 $63.84 $9.97 94
114 Mauritius 4 $64.06 $2.09 51
115 Fiji 9 $64.49 $66.89 100
116 Ireland 18 $65.12 $0.40 125
117 Åland Islands 20 $65.28 $2.00 60
118 Madagascar 3 $66.64 $1.43 NEW
119 United States 25 $67.69 $1.26 116
120 Isle of Man 24 $68.07 $0.93 56
121 Honduras 12 $68.50 $7.28 120
122 Swaziland 9 $68.78 $52.46 133
123 Mozambique 12 $69.11 $20.19 130
124 Vietnam 17 $69.63 $2.67 106
125 Liechtenstein 19 $70.52 $2.38 154
126 Saint Lucia 5 $71.02 $5.32 129
127 Luxembourg 34 $71.15 $1.06 134
128 Dominica 3 $71.43 $15.95 108
129 Hong Kong 14 $72.68 $0.40 127
130 Bahamas 13 $72.77 $5.74 136
131 Costa Rica 30 $73.51 $3.65 123
132 Côte d’Ivoire 14 $73.87 $12.88 103
133 Norway 34 $73.92 $2.50 147
134 St. Pierre and Miquelon 6 $74.22 $10.90 72
135 Saint Kitts and Nevis 12 $74.71 $5.84 138
136 Kenya 19 $75.18 $2.42 156
137 Montserrat 6 $76.09 $20.65 135
138 Turkmenistan 8 $76.15 $117.73 43
139 Iceland 15 $76.66 $0.63 124
140 Jordan 26 $77.45 $1.21 137
141 New Caledonia 13 $77.71 $3.99 142
142 Faroe Islands 14 $78.58 $1.58 153
143 Switzerland 33 $80.00 $3.02 144
144 Curaçao 15 $80.23 $2.84 122
145 Saint Helena 6 $80.26 $46.37 148
146 Maldives 16 $81.55 $4.51 151
147 Angola 15 $82.43 $13.14 159
148 Benin 5 $83.94 $77.45 140
149 Nigeria 13 $84.16 $7.17 143
150 French Polynesia 6 $85.63 $28.62 158
151 Virgin Islands (U.S.) 8 $88.01 $5.32 155
152 Guam 3 $89.71 $3.63 150
153 Botswana 14 $91.64 $25.14 141
154 Saudi Arabia 12 $95.72 $2.16 149
155 Bahrain 25 $96.29 $6.79 164
156 Djibouti 4 $97.41 $21.16 161
157 Marshall Islands 4 $97.45 $149.77 162
158 Anguilla 11 $100.07 $4.75 152
159 Gabon 8 $103.59 $19.63 166
160 Micronesia (Federated States of) 5 $103.60 $35.32 178
161 American Samoa 10 $103.69 $88.59 179
162 Kyrgyzstan 24 $108.22 $29.48 173
163 Panama 8 $108.38 $0.40 169
164 Lesotho 4 $108.49 $63.88 174
165 Caribbean Netherlands 3 $110.12 $11.62 167
166 Barbados 10 $111.86 $0.49 165
167 Comoros 4 $114.34 $68.34 172
168 Somalia 5 $117.50 $250.43 175
169 Niger 5 $118.80 $263.15 176
170 Turks and Caicos Islands 9 $119.21 $5.41 177
171 Seychelles 5 $122.63 $65.97 163
172 Guyana 12 $123.11 $40.09 170
173 Brunei Darussalam 8 $123.29 $2.52 193
174 Greenland 6 $123.80 $33.52 146
175 Bermuda 41 $124.36 $13.04 180
176 Ethiopia 9 $125.19 $31.39 117
177 Zimbabwe 7 $128.71 $6.89 188
178 Sierra Leone 3 $135.62 $60.24 171
179 Vanuatu 10 $138.54 $74.73 184
180 Qatar 14 $140.58 $14.05 183
181 Virgin Islands (British) 4 $141.17 $4.52 181
182 Oman 13 $150.63 $3.94 182
183 United Arab Emirates 7 $157.10 $16.50 186
184 Cayman Islands 11 $158.69 $6.33 190
185 Mali 7 $160.53 $48.45 187
186 Cook Islands 4 $171.34 $20.47 189
187 Antigua and Barbuda 8 $177.15 $4.79 185
188 Tanzania 13 $181.80 $52.33 168
189 Burkina Faso 6 $201.94 $39.45 196
190 Haiti 9 $207.39 $10.53 191
191 Paraguay 33 $210.83 $20.16 96
192 Lao People’s Democratic Republic 39 $239.25 $13.91 192
193 Namibia 13 $383.83 $17.79 194
194 Papua New Guinea 18 $571.67 $81.25 195
195 Mauritania 4 $768.16 $127.15 112

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. EndlessWaves

    So the average price of a UK broadband connection is £30.70, and I presume that’s without tax so in a more familiar form it’s £36.84.

    I can’t see a link to the full report to find out their method of choosing packages to compare, but that looks rather high as an average across all connections including ADSL.

    • AnotherTim

      That average price was almost exactly what I was paying for a Plusnet ADSL2+ connection until I took an offer for Plusnet business ADSL2+ that cut the monthly cost by a third. Even now I’m paying twice the average per Mbps price though.

  2. Essa

    There is another level of abstraction which has not been mentioned in this article or the report and should be considered at least.

    The problem is if you take “Iran” the buying power is not much and the ISP are run by the state so the 8.20 should be considered in the context of Living wage etc.

    • SimonR

      I’d assumed the prices were adjusted to some kind of standard that accounts for relative living costs, etc., but now you mention it they could just be exchange rate conversions.

      Hmm.

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