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How many hours of work pay the internet bill?

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Poor infrastructure pushes wifi prices up. Image: REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Katharina Buchholz
Data Journalist, Statista
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  • Nigerians would have to work more than 33 hours to afford the cheapest broadband available in the country, according to a new index.
  • Poor infrastructure and low internet penetration rates push prices up.
  • Asia is home to some of the cheapest internet plans with a month of internet costing less than the average hourly wage in Japan, China and Nepal.

A study by VPN provider Surfshark has found that the planet’s least affordable internet is also often its worst. According to the 2020 Digital Quality of Life Index, Nigerians would have to work more than 33 hours at average pay to be able to afford for the cheapest monthly broadband contract available in the country. This is despite the fact that Nigeria has the third worst broadband speed and fifth least reliable broadband in the survey that looked at 85 countries.

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Many countries in Latin America are plagued by the same problem. The Philippines are the least affordable in Asia, requiring more than seven hours of work at average pay for a month of broadband internet, despite poor overall quality.

a chart showing the amount of hours worked equating to wages
Nigeria has the third worst broadband speed and fifth least reliable broadband. Image: Statista

The Asian continent is also home to some cheap internet plans, however. A month of internet costs less than the average hourly wage in Japan, China and Nepal and just a little above it in Indonesia and Singapore. The latter is also home to the fastest broadband connection in the survey, which is also rated completely reliable.

Very affordable and reliable internet connections can also be found in Canada, Israel and many countries in Europe. Several Eastern European nations and Iran offer great affordability and stability but lack some points in the speed department. Montenegro sticks out as the country with the least affordable internet in Europe, at a price equivalent of seven hours of work.

While the high prices for poor service seem contradictory on the surface, the imbalance can be explained by poor infrastructure and lower internet penetration rates in some countries translating into a higher cost for a product that is not fully matured yet.

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