Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UN Tech Group Finds Most Expensive Broadband

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the golden-dial-up dept.

The Internet 89

destinyland writes "In the Central African Republic, broadband internet service costs 3891% of the average monthly income. 'Put another way, a month's broadband service costs more than three years' average wages in the country,' notes one technology blog, 'compared with less than two hours' earnings in Macau.' A United Nations' technology group released the figures in a new report in advance of a September 19 summit on the digital divide in developing countries. ('We are trying to avoid a broadband divide,' said Dr. Hamadoun Toure, the secretary general of the UN's International Telecommunications Union.) Their agency noted that the rate for broadband penetration is below 1% in many poor countries, with monthly costs higher than the average monthly income. 'By contrast,' notes the BBC, 'in the world's most developed economies, around 30% of people have access to broadband at a cost of less than 1% of their income.' And the report also estimates that there are 5 billion cellphones in the world — though some people may own more than one."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Well... (4, Insightful)

pseudofrog (570061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482122)

"And the report also estimates that there are 5 billion cellphones in the world — though some people may own more than one."

Yeah -- I'm pretty sure that worldwide ownership rate of cell phones is somewhat less than 73%.

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

anguirus.x (1463871) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482140)

"And the report also estimates that there are 5 billion cellphones in the world — though some people may own more than one."

Yeah -- I'm pretty sure that worldwide ownership rate of cell phones is somewhat less than 73%.

Yeah, the number of humans who are dead and gone now without a cell phone brings it down some.

Re:Well... (1)

anguirus.x (1463871) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482362)

It's not offtopic. It was a joke about counting dead people towards the total population, since their number of 5 billion cell phones indicates they're counting the dead cell phone in my closet that's never going to be used again.

Re:Well... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482486)

This number is about subscribers

Re:Well... (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483250)

reminded of MC Lars' "Turn Your Cell Phone Off", where one of the jokes about phone disasters entails a guy being buried with a ringing phone.

Re:Well... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482366)

Off topic? WTF is wrong with the mods?

Re:Well... (5, Interesting)

jmoen (169557) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482164)

I have been to many african countries and the only way the are able to communicate with work, family and friends is through mobile phone. There is no infrastructure for wired communications and the postal service is almost non existant or cost a furtune (also there is a lack of places where you can pick up the mail). You can be in the middle of nowhere and you find a mobile phone mast and people with mobile phones. Many of them do in fact have several phones, one on each major provider, as the providers not always peer with each other or the peering is defunc. Mobile serivce is cheap as long as you call people on same carrier, thus another reason for more than one phone.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482466)

Though the carrier issue is also quite often (probably more often) dealt with by carrying more than one simcard & one phone... Then there are dualsim handsets.

Those mobile phones (and mostly so called "feature phones") are also increasingly a way of accessing the web [opera.com] (conveniently, last three reports are about Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America) - IIRC already close to 30% of Facebook usage is from mobiles. After looking at State of the Mobile Web reports from Opera (which include most popular sites per country), it's quite possible that some notable part of those ~30% is from places where it's often the only frequent method of access. And despite a lot of those users being rather frugal with the amount of browsing / data transferred, Opera Mini is still the #1 mobile web browser by worldwide website stats.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482348)

It might be. Cell phones are a great example of how developing world can use technology to leapfrog certain stages of development that they missed out on. Countries without functioning telecommunications infrastructure can (contract foreign companies to) slap a bunch of cell phone masts around the major population centers and combined with cheap handsets practically overnight you got 80% of your population connected. Of course there is a bit more to it, but it's a lot easier than wiring up the country.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483406)

The problem is that wiring up 80% of the country would create a thriving local economy and enable inexpensive communication while bring in a foreign company to throw up a few masts just exports more of what little wealth exists. That's why, in spite of the opportunity to leapfrog whole generations of tech, much of Africa remains undeveloped.

Re:Well... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484558)

Thriving local economy often of the "salvage and sell valuables" kind - a problem less suffered by wireless communication.

Re:Well... (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485000)

"The problem is that wiring up 80% of the country would create a thriving local economy and enable inexpensive communication"

Citation very much needed. The developed world has its POTS infrastructure long paid for and takes it for granted.

Re:Well... (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33485154)

It certainly helped US create a thriving economy and raise the standard of living. One thing all of the developed world has in common is that they didn't just hire someone else to come in and build them, they were built from the inside so that the wealth stayed in the local economy and they developed expertise in their society.

One thing the less developed countries have in common is they keep having experts suggest they export their wealth to corporations in the developed world and end up with a few bits of technology but none the wiser.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482380)

At the end of 2007, the world had 3.2 billion mobile subscribers (that's the metric used here, active numbers - it's damn easy to determine); at the end of 2009 - 4.6 billion. It's quite plausible there would be 5 by now.

Also, while indeed some people have more than one number / some places more than 100% penetration - in many developing ones a group of poeple (say, a family) shares one mobile phone. That's an explicitly stated reason why Nokia puts, into their lowest end (on S30 - 1202, 1280, 1616, etc.) mobile phones, few separate / switchable contact lists & cost trackers.
The above two factors cancel each other out a bit; I wouldn't be even too surprised if an actual number of people using mobile phones was slightly higher than the number of accounts.

Re:Well... (3, Informative)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483178)

Yeah -- I'm pretty sure that worldwide ownership rate of cell phones is somewhat less than 73%.

Not by much.

I work in ICT development and advocacy in the Pacific, and write about it occasionally. I can think of several countries off the top of my head where teledensity [google.com] has risen by orders of magnitude within 12-18 months of new mobile services being rolled out.

In Vanuatu, where I live, we went from about 20,000 active accounts to 100,000 within 9 months. Unimpressed? The entire population of the country is 235,000.

I predict that there will come a time when the idea of 73% coverage of all of humanity doesn't raise eyebrows the way it does now. I predict that this will happen within 5-10 years.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484164)

After just coming back to New Zealand after visiting Vanuatu on holiday (which I enjoyed immensly), I was blown away by the cellphone penetration there. It seemed pretty cheap as well - cheaper than cellphone coverage in NZ. It was eye opening to me to see so many of the locals carrying cellphones, considering that in many aspects it is still very much a 3rd world nation. Ofcourse, it was also a little depressing to see so many tourists spending practically all their time (and money) at the resort, wholly owned by foreign interests, instead of having a more direct interaction with the locals.

Re:Well... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484496)

Within 5-10 years 80+% should be easily achievable. 70+% shouldn't raise eyebrows already; available data suggest this number of subscribers is just a simple fact of life. Curious how people have a hard time accepting it.

Re:Well... (1)

SudoGhost (1779150) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484238)

"And the report also estimates that there are 5 billion cellphones in the world — though some people may own more than one."

Does this take into consideration that people upgrade their phones? If I upgrade my phone every year, does this mean, that according to whoever did that study, that I am the proud owner of six cellphones?

Just because that many cellphones exists does not mean that all of those devices are in use. I can't tell you how many old cellphones I have in a box somewhere.

Re:Well... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484448)

The UN report talks about the number of people, individual subscribers. The number of mobile phones in use.

With the number of mobile phones sold annually, all of them could be replaced after 4 years; and people often do use them longer - especially since owning your phone & prepaid are a standard pracrise in many developing places.

Re:Well... (1)

EvilIdler (21087) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484332)

I've got six of them (not counting the ones I've thrown away), and my sister has more than twice as many. Of course 5 billion is possible if we get tired of last month's tech that quickly :)

Re:Well... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484472)

That just means you and your sister are not a very typical mobile phone subscribers. For example - I'm guessing you have a contract / majority of people in your place have one?

Well, thats quite rare in places with largest growth dynamics. People use prepaid; they own their phones and use them much longer. It's not a "this month's tech" - it's a utlity / often the first & only easy way of communication.

And the UN report explicitly says about 5 billion individual subscribers, as in active accounts, not mobile phones sold (with 1+ billion sold annualy for 4 years, the number would be strangely low)

Lifting the Lid on the Guilty Yid (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482134)

The liberals got it exactly right. For years now they’ve been telling us how “vibrant” mass immigration has made stale, pale White societies. Well, London was certainly vibrating on 7th July and that got me thinking: What else have the liberals got right? Mass immigration “enriches” us too, they’ve always said. Is that “enrich” as in “enriched uranium”, an excellent way of making atom bombs? Because that’s what comes next: a weapon of real mass destruction that won’t kill people in piffling dozens but in hundreds of thousands or millions. Bye-bye London, bye-bye Washington, bye-bye Tel Aviv.

I’m not too sure I’d shed a tear if the last-named went up in a shower of radioactive cinders, but Tel Aviv is actually the least likely of the three to be hit. What’s good for you ain’t good for Jews, and though Jews have striven mightily, and mighty successfully, to turn White nations into multi-racial fever-swamps, mass immigration has passed the Muzzerland safely by. And mass immigration is the key to what happened in London. You don’t need a sophisticated socio-political analysis taking in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Jewish control of Anglo-American foreign policy, British colonialism, and fifteen centuries of Christian-Muslim conflict. You can explain the London bombs in five simple words:

Pakis do not belong here.

And you can sum up how to prevent further London bombs – and worse – in three simple words:

PAKI GO HOME.

At any time before the 1950s, brown-skinned Muslim terrorists would have found it nearly impossible to plan and commit atrocities on British soil, because they would have stood out like sore thumbs in Britain’s overwhelmingly White cities. Today, thanks to decades of mass immigration, it’s often Whites who stand out like sore thumbs. Our cities swarm with non-whites full of anti-White grievances and hatreds created by Judeo-liberal propaganda. And let’s forget the hot air about how potential terrorists and terrorist sympathizers are a “tiny minority” of Britain’s vibrant, peace-loving Muslim “community”.

Even if that’s true, a tiny minority of 1.6 million (2001 estimate) is a hell of a lot of people, and there’s very good reason to believe it isn’t true. Tony Blair has tried to buy off Britain’s corrupt and greedy “moderate” Muslims with knighthoods and public flattery, but his rhetoric about the “religion of peace” wore thin long ago. After the bombings he vowed, with his trademark bad actor’s pauses, that we will... not rest until... the guilty men are identified... and as far... as is humanly possible... brought to justice for this... this murderous carnage... of the innocent.

His slimy lawyer’s get-out clause – “as far as is humanly possible” – was soon needed. Unlike Blair and his pal Dubya in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bombers were prepared not only to kill the innocent but to die themselves as they did so. And to laugh at the prospect: they were captured on CCTV sharing a joke about the limbs and heads that would shortly be flying. Even someone as dim as Blair must know you’ve got a big problem on your hands when there are over 1.6 million people in your country following a religion like that.

If he doesn’t know, there are plenty of Jewish journalists who will point it out for him. There’s the neo-conservative Melanie Phillips in Britain, for example, who never met an indignant adverb she didn’t like, and the neo-conservative Mark Steyn in Canada, who never met an indignant Arab he didn’t kick. Reading their hard-hitting columns on Muslim psychosis, I was reminded of a famous scene in Charles Dickens’ notoriously anti-Semitic novel Oliver Twist (1839). The hero watches the training of the villainous old Jew Fagin put into action by the Artful Dodger:

What was Oliver’s horror and alarm to see the Dodger plunge his hand into the old gentleman’s pocket, and draw from thence a handkerchief! To see him hand the same to Charley Bates; and finally to behold them both running away round the corner at full speed! He stood for a moment tingling from terror; then, confused and frightened, he took to his heels and made off as fast as he could lay his feet to the ground.
In the very instant when Oliver began to run, the old gentleman, putting his hand to his pocket, and missing his handkerchief, turned sharp round. Seeing the boy scudding away, he very naturally concluded him to be the depredator; and shouting “Stop thief!” with all his might, made off after him. But the old gentleman was not the only person who raised the hue-and-cry. The Dodger and Master Bates, unwilling to attract public attention by running down the open street, had merely retired into the very first doorway round the corner. They no sooner heard the cry, and saw Oliver running, than, guessing exactly how the matter stood, they issued forth with great promptitude; and, shouting “Stop thief!” too, joined in the pursuit like good citizens.

“Wicked Muslims!” our two Jewish Artful Dodgers are shouting. “Can’t you see how they hate the West and want to destroy us?” Well, yes, we can, but some of us can also see who the original West-haters are. Mark Steyn claims not to be Jewish, but his ancestry shines through time after time in his writing. Above all, there’s his dishonesty. One week he’s mocking anti-Semites for claiming that the tiny nation of Israel could have such a powerful influence for bad on the world’s affairs. The following week he’s praising the British Empire for having had such a powerful influence for good. You know, the world-bestriding British Empire – as created by a tiny nation called Britain.

If the Brits could do it openly and honestly, Mr Steyn, why can’t the yids do it by fraud and deception? And the yids have done it, of course. They’ve run immigration policy and “race relations” in Europe and America since the 1960s, and Steyn is very fond of pointing out what’s in store for Europe as our Jew-invited non-white guests grow in number and really start to show their appreciation of our hospitality.

Funnily enough, I’ve never seen him point out that the same is in store for North America, which has its own rapidly growing non-white swarms. And when Steyn launches one of his regular attacks on the lunacies of multi-culturalism and anti-racism, a central fact always somehow seems to escape his notice. He recently once again bemoaned the psychotic “Western self-loathing” that has such a “grip on the academy, the media, the Congregational and Episcopal Churches, the ‘arts’ and Hollywood”. Exhibit one: the multi-culti, hug-the-world, “Let’s all be nice to the Muslims” memorial for 9/11. This was his list of those responsible for it:

Tom Bernstein... Michael Posner... Eric Foner... George Soros...
Well, that’s a Jew, a Jew, a Jew, and a Jew – sounds like a lampshade collector showing off his Auschwitz shelf. But fearless “Tell It Like It Is” Steyn, ever-ready to mock the “racial sensitivity” of deluded liberals, is himself very sensitive about race when it comes to the Chosen Ones. He’ll kick dark-skinned Muslims and their liberal appeasers till the sacred cows come home and he can start kicking them too, but just like Melanie Phillips he never whispers a word about the Jews who created liberal appeasement or about the enormous power Jews wield in “the academy, the media, the 'arts', and Hollywood”.

The same is true of all other Jewish “conservatives”. They’re shouting “Stop thief!” at the top of their voices and hoping that no-one will notice that they all belong to the biggest race of thieves who ever existed. Those bombs went off in London because Jews have stolen large parts of Britain from their rightful White inhabitants and handed them over to the non-white followers of a psychotic alien religion. When non-whites commit more and worse atrocities in future, you won’t need to ask who’s really responsible: it’s liberal Jews like Tom Bernstein and George Soros, who organize mass immigration and the anti-racism industry, and “conservative” Jews like Mark Steyn and Melanie Phillips, who distract White attention from the racial motives of Jews like Soros and Bernstein. Heads they win, tails we lose – liberal, “conservative”, they’re all of them Jews.

Um...yeah. (3, Insightful)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482144)

It's going to be pretty difficult to proliferate anything through much of Africa with ultracorrupt asshats running many of the countries, not to mention other ultracorrupt asshats trying to overthrow the current ultracorrupt asshats in power. You'd think that they'd stop caring about goddamned broadband and start worrying about actually getting a stable infrastructure first. Yes, I realize that the guys talking about broadband are part of a subgroup within a much broader one, but still, focus on what you can actually accomplish, not something that's going to take a lot more work in other areas to become even remotely feasible.

Then again, Nigeria seems to be doing just fine with internet access...

Re:Um...yeah. (5, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482190)

My experience is that Africa is concerned with looking modern more than actually being modern.

The average rural African citizen hears from the politicians that cell phones and internet are the indications of modern life, so they support the "ultracorrupt asshats" who promise to bring them such things. They manage to live their lives without decent infrastructure already, so why bother building more?

Clean water? There's a stream nearby that only has six ducks defecating next to it. That's good enough.

A sewage system? There's a nice ditch that's cleaned by floods at least once a year. That's good enough.

Televisions? Yes! America has them, and Barack Obama is going to buy one for every American! We need them, too!

As awful as it sounds, I think this will eventually lead to a fully modern infrastructure, but it'll be different from the Western norm. In Ghana, one of the largest employers is the telephone company, who builds cell towers in the middle of nowhere connected via satellite. That means a push for service roads, stable electricity, and a network of independent distributors of pay-as-you-go credits. It's certainly not fast, but the trickle-down economy is working a little.

(While volunteering in Ghana, I was actually told "You are American? You have Obama! He will buy a TV for all Americans!")

Re:Um...yeah. (3, Interesting)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482374)

While volunteering in Ghana, I was actually told "You are American? You have Obama! He will buy a TV for all Americans!"

Why were you surprised at this? You've got Americans thinking he'll pay their bills for them too [youtube.com] .

Re:Um...yeah. (2, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482384)

I'm sure he doesn't mind buying _a_ TV for all Americans.

Teaching them how to share better is the hard part ;).

Re:Um...yeah. (3, Funny)

funkatron (912521) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482804)

Sharing is for commies, he'd never get it past your other party.

Re:Um...yeah. (2, Insightful)

PGaries (827288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33486584)

A more reasonable interpretation of "I won't have to worry about..." is that that's a figure of speech and not literal. The idea seems to be that Obama would increase people's standards of living by fixing the economy, rampant corporate greed, overpriced health care, etc. that contribute to keeping the poor poor. (She's probably a little too optimistic though, considering her statements in retrospect and two years into the Obama administration.)

Re:Um...yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33483542)

My experience is that Africa is concerned with looking modern more than actually being modern.

With all due respect, applying that generalization to Ghana is one thing -- applying it to a continent that's roughly twice the size of the US is another.

Re:Um...yeah. (2, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484990)

My general experience applies generally. My specific example from Ghana is specific.

Re:Um...yeah. (2, Interesting)

m50d (797211) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482320)

What's going to reduce corruption and produce stable infrastructure? Democracy, an interested populace, and prosperity through economic growth. All things that getting broadband out there is going to help with.

Sure, you could try and bring them up by going through the exact same development path we did - but that's going to leave those nations permanently x years behind. The best way to bring a society forward rapidly is investment in science and technology, and there's no sense going for anything but the best.

Re:Um...yeah. (2, Insightful)

whitehaint (1883260) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482590)

Consider that Europeans and Asians had nobody to hold their hand when they developed technological and infrastructure improvements. Perhaps Africa is substantially lacking because they do not have the abstract thought needed for these improvements? I recall an effort in the DCR to protect some gorillas. The reserve officers relied on repeater radios, which were promptly looted for whatever was in the shacks. Bring broadband to the area? Prepare to replace lines constantly.

Re:Um...yeah. (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482604)

And none of the above are likely to happen in many African countries. You have iron-fisted dictators, endless tribal warfare, guerilla groups galore, rampant superstitions, and a whole lot more. Hell, even in South Africa, one of the more developed nations, it's still believed by many, many people that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS...resulting in the rape of young girls, even infants. Broadband isn't going to help with that. Rapid investment in science and technology? Do you know ANYTHING about Africa? How are you going to implement science and technology in an area that's been ravaged by warfare for years? How are you going to set this up when warlords and dictators just love to seize it for their own profit? That's not the entire continent, but it's really, really bad in many, many countries.

Re:Um...yeah. (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482760)

Hell, even in South Africa, one of the more developed nations, it's still believed by many, many people that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS...resulting in the rape of young girls, even infants. Broadband isn't going to help with that.

Actually it might, by making accurate information more readily available.

How are you going to implement science and technology in an area that's been ravaged by warfare for years? How are you going to set this up when warlords and dictators just love to seize it for their own profit?

It won't be easy, but it's the only way. Any form of aid will have these problems; unlike food handouts, technology has a chance of actually getting these people out of their situation.

Re:Um...yeah. (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483414)

Actually it might, by making accurate information more readily available.

Silly you, thinking that a website will completely dispel cultural superstitions and beliefs.

It won't be easy, but it's the only way. Any form of aid will have these problems; unlike food handouts, technology has a chance of actually getting these people out of their situation.

No, it has just as much (if not more) chance of being seized by some faction and being used to further their goals, even if that means selling the goods on eBay.

Re:Um...yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482652)

Then again, Nigeria seems to be doing just fine with internet access...

ret?

Re:Um...yeah. (1)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482958)

Here [lmgtfy.com] .

so it costs 4$? (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482152)

lol .

Percentage of average monthly income is not fair (4, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482154)

I don't think it's at all fair to compare prices based on average monthly income in a country. If the average income is mere dollars per day or per month, how can you possibly expect internet access to be within means? It's like complaining that the average New Yorker/Manhattanite can't afford a car because the parking costs almost as much as their rent!

Re:Percentage of average monthly income is not fai (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482296)

I don't understand what you mean. Comparing cell phone prices to average income in a country tells you something about effective availability of cell phone communciation in that country. I don't think it's meaningful to say that it's "unfair" to do so. Who is it being unfair to?

Re:Percentage of average monthly income is not fai (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482542)

Well, without getting into too much detail it depends on whether broadband is a tradable or non-tradable good. A tradable good is something like say gold - worth pretty much the same all over the world, because otherwise there'd be arbitrage. A non-tradable good would be something like getting a haircut, which is why most can afford to get haircuts despite living on mere dollars a day. The wages are much lower so the prices are much lower.

A lot of it is equipment, but a lot of it is also people to lay down cables, wire houses, set up wireless antennas, do support, maintenance, configuration, billing and so on. If you didn't take into consideration local costs, you'd reach a lot of crazy conclusions. And regarding the things they do have to buy, it's profit-maximizing to sell cheaper in poor countries than in rich countries as long as it doesn't hurt the other sales. That is why for example you can find a cheap Chinese or Thai-only phone, because it's only usable in that country and won't hurt your US and other English-speaking sales. I'm sure you could make some sort of deal or to purchase obsolete equipment from a western ISP for cheap.

All in all, I think it's better to compare to monthly income because they could probably sell it for considerably less and still break even. A far bigger issue I think is penetration, the cost of building out a network is not linear to the number of people on it. Even if only 20% of a town wants broadband you have to wire almost as much as if 80% would want it. That is why you often se rates in third world countries that are much, much higher than what I get even on an absolute scale, despite that everything should be cheaper to do down there.

At least here in Norway it's about $40 for basic broadband (1-2 Mbit), $60 (1% of average full time income) for medium broadband (5-10 Mbit) while about $80 will get you a top line (20-30 Mbit). Almost everyone who wants it has broadband, which really keeps the costs per customer down. Sure it could probably get even cheaper but compared to many poorer countries we pay little and get a lot. Things like broadband thrive on volume of many people signing up.

Re:Percentage of average monthly income is not fai (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482626)

Prices in a given place, in relation to the average monthtly income, is all that matters to the poeple in the end...

But even if you want to look at absolute numbers - apparently the average monthly income is in the range of tens of USD. You certainly wouldn't buy broadband at close to 40x of that amount, too. "High tech" stuff, of various kind, is typically most expensive at such places by all conceivable measures..

Central African Republic, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482162)

Have they checked the rates in Canada?

Okay, so all kidding aside it's not 3891% of the average monthly income, but it sure as hell is a lot more than "less than 1% of our income".

Re:Central African Republic, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482200)

Are you living in Middletown, Nowhere Terrotiries?

In big cities, broadband (the basic decent version, not the "lite" bullshit) starts at around $40/mo, $50 with all the taxes fees and other crap. Probably around 2% of the average monthly wage.

The 1% probably comes from Japan/Korea, where broadband would be much cheaper to set up due to the vastly smaller country sizes, denser population, and higher rate of urban citizens. And even in those countries, as the article states, only 30% get to enjoy the under 1% rate.

Re:Central African Republic, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33483066)

$50 being 2% of the average monthly wage would mean $2500 per month. I can assure you that it's not the average wage, nowhere near it.

If I had $2500 per month I'd be living like a freakin' king in this town.

Re:Central African Republic, really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33483458)

Broadband would have to be $202.50 per month to be 1% of our monthly household income. But broadband is more like $50 per month, so it is only 1/4% of monthly income. This is in California - it just shows that it really varies even in the US. However, if you count the various "data plans" on our smartphones (4 phones, $30, $25, $25, and $15), the total gets to $145 which is getting pretty close to the 1% number. I wonder if the numbers in various places are slanted like that - where in one place it is just for DSL / Cable type connections and in another they count the 3G / 4G data plans as well?

Re:Central African Republic, really? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33484212)

Broadband would have to be $202.50 per month to be 1% of our monthly household income.

You make $20250.00 per month? Nice!

average monthly income (5, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482168)

3891% of the average monthly income

Given that the monthly income is roughly $50, I doubt a lack of broadband is what keeps them up at night.

Re:average monthly income (3, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482214)

But without the internet, how will they know what nerds think about political issues?

Re:average monthly income (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482300)

Monthly income isn't the issue that people think it is. It's just a number, the question though is what does it get you and what do you do with it? While generally in parts of the world where incomes are low like that there are the other problems as well, it's hardly a hard link. For example with a tax rate of about half when municipal taxes and national taxes are taken into account, Sweden looks a lot worse with respect to income figures than it really is. Mostly because a lot of the things that we in the US have to pay for as individuals gets covered through taxation.

The problem is that if it's not already the case, it will be the case in the near future that to be competitive you have to have some sort of internet access, and eventually some sort of broad band. It's like education in a way, if you don't have it you're just going to fall further behind until something remedies the situation.

Re:average monthly income (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33483106)

Those who think all is rosy in Sweden should look a bit closer. Their economy collapsed in the nineties, it's coming back now because they are getting away from many of the policies people point to as being so wonderful (the same policies that the current administration here in the US has been pushing, obviously with the same result). Sweden is now very big on private industry; they have strong unions, but businesses are allowed to have a corresponding arrangement that makes collective bargaining real bargaining instead of one-sided demands that eventually drive a company out of existence.

Exactly (2, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482386)

3891% of the average monthly income

Given that the monthly income is roughly $50, I doubt a lack of broadband is what keeps them up at night.

Thank you. You've got people saying things like "We've got to get broadband to the third world so they can catch up!". Broadband? Many of these people don't even have clean water supplies, or a house that isn't made of trash or mud. Just how much is a freakin' broadband connection going to help them?

Re:Exactly (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483118)

You merely describe one of the extremes...

In many so called developing places basics are covered decently.

Re:Exactly (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483160)

If you go to the very bottom of the list, yes. If you look at the full executive summary (PDF) [itu.int] , the top 115 countries are doing quite ok with fixed broadband being up to 21% of average monthly income. The last of those are countries like Philippines, Vietnam and Morocco. Of the remaining 45, most are dirt poor mostly having a GDP below $1000/person and the bottom 15 countries have an average of $440/person. Also some of those at the bottom are in addition to being poor also island states, the domestic prices are much lower than an Internet connection requiring sea cable or satellite.. And the situation is improving, the title of chart 4 is "Fixed broadband Internet prices are dropping sharply but remain unaffordable in many developing countries".

What I got out of the summary is that you can get broadband at somewhat affordable prices in relatively many countries compared to what I thought. Also that being a poor country in a relatively less poor area helps for broadband prices. Most of the countries that really suck for broadband are those south of Sahara, apparently there's no short way to hook up to a rich country's backbone nearby, while those in Central America and SE Asia mostly manage to hook up to a decent country. You can call it a digital divide here, but it seems to have a physical form very much like a desert...

Re:Exactly (0, Troll)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483490)

Thank you. You've got people saying things like "We've got to get broadband to the third world so they can catch up!". Broadband? Many of these people don't even have clean water supplies, or a house that isn't made of trash or mud. Just how much is a freakin' broadband connection going to help them?

Yeah, there's hurricanes in them southern parts. Every year! Why they bother building houses I'll never know.

And illness, too. So why build schools? They're all gonna die anyway!

Come to think of it, why even expect them to read or count? What's the point? They're POOR, I tell you, POOR! When you're poor, there's no point in asking for anything except food and a pine box.

...

... Sheesh...

Re:Exactly (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33485188)

Just how much is a freakin' broadband connection going to help them?

Ahemm, not at all. The UN is a political body setting the focus of westerner's attention so that people don't find out the truth.

Do you think that the members of the UN are stupid or something?

Re:average monthly income (1)

calinduca (1334025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33493364)

Well, as somebody on bash.org put it: the standard of living is defined by 24 hour access to a hot meal, hot water and hot porn. (approx quote, can't find the link right now)

Re:average monthly income (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33496590)

To add insult to injury, you're talking averages. In those hypercorrupt countries, that average would be even lower if you excluded the top 1% in power, who live off bribes and organized theft.

Apples to oranges^H^H^H^H^H^H^H spaceships (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482174)

There are many things more accessible in the developed world than the developing world. Oh, such as food, clean water, medicine, clothing, shelter, literacy-level education.

Yes, broadband is nice, and (in developed) countries plays a role at improving human rights (through emporewment of individual citizens to read and share information, both through official channels and outside them).

But in the poorest countries, things are different. Massively accessible broadband would not improve jack squat until people can actually read and write, until they are not dying of hunger and disease. Any investing in broadband infrastructure would be a money hole which would only benefits the pockets of those in power (who undoubtedly will take a graft in exchange for permission of setting up the infrastructure).

Solve the basics, like food and water, before you go hi-tech, mmmk?

Re:Apples to oranges^H^H^H^H^H^H^H spaceships (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483150)

The lack of basics is not a problem in all of developed world - why do you think people there are universally starving, naked, illiterate and without shelter?!

But technology is universally too expensive - and not only relative to local per capita income; it's typically very expensive when compared to absolute prices in developed world, too.

Re:Apples to oranges^H^H^H^H^H^H^H spaceships (2, Interesting)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483892)

But in the poorest countries, things are different. Massively accessible broadband would not improve jack squat until people can actually read and write, until they are not dying of hunger and disease.

I wonder ... perhaps their governments could create some videos, in the native language, to teach skills? This would not require the population to be able to read and write. (Getting to the site with the instructional videos, though, might require a bit of effort... Like perhaps creating an XO-like device, which when first started will show a video describing its operation.)

The idea being, they can use this advanced technology to bootstrap themselves into the present, or even future, instead of taking the same slow laborious path that we took. Shoulders of giants, and all that.

In fact, the skills that are taught in these videos could even be "reading and writing," helping the citizenry climb up to first-world levels of technology that much sooner.

What a useless study. (4, Insightful)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482208)

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Countries with devastating poverty have a lot of people who can't afford broadband internet for the computer they can't afford to own that runs on electricity they don't have in the "house" that we wouldn't consider a house.

Perhaps we should start with something more basic, like access to clean water, absence of marauding militias, a level of education somewhere above shockingly bad, etc.

Re:What a useless study. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482302)

Well, with low-bandwidth Internet, maybe villages can tell each other which of the local wells currently have water and what the marauding militias have been up to. People can learn from Wikipedia. Why should poor countries be forced to master technologies in the order that they was invented?

But broadband? Yes, this is a luxury.

Re:What a useless study. (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482310)

It might have been an interesting study if they had focused on "tier 1" nations -- those with a developed infrastructure, economies, etc.

Going beyond tier 1 nations would be interesting if they focused on some kind of currency-adjusted cost; it might start to look like the Economist's Big Mac index.

More interesting yet would be adjusting for population density -- knowing the Japanese can get 100 Meg up/down for $10/month is kind of meaningless as a comparison when you take into account that the population density allows a huge number of people to be directly served by Ethernet runs from an actual Ethernet switch and not via some add-on or specialized "broadband" technology.

But in any super poor country, pretty much everything costing more than $10 in the U.S. is going to be some 100x or 1000x multiple of the median local income.

Re:What a useless study. (1)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482770)

But in Sweden, most municipal broadband in apartment buildings is run directly from an ethernet router/rj45 jack in the wall. 100/100 costs 30$/month - and the population density here is very low. Outside cities it's DSL or cable, of course, but the cities have quite a low population density (or at least it looks that way, there's not much upwards building when land is cheap.) The reason the US has such a poor backbone is obviously because of monopoly stagnation; if the network was state funded and treated like any other basic infrastructure (roads, water, electricity) this problem wouldn't exist. Granted, I'm not sure how much of the US infrastructure is state-owned.

Re:What a useless study. (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#33487560)

Roads, water & sewer are state owned, but electricity is mostly private although many rural areas are served by co-ops which are nominally non-profit (or minimally capitalist, depending on how you look at it).

I'm not so sure that the US has a "poor backbone" -- obviously there is a lot of bandwidth if you want to pay for it. Even at the consumer level, I think it's gotten better fairly quickly.

I moved into my house in 1999, and there was *no* broadband. In 2000, I finally got DSL -- 768k/768k for $80 month. It went 1.5M/800k about two years later. Last year I jumped ship to Comcast (cable) Business Class. For $69/month I get 12M/2M.

So in about 10 years, my download speed has gone up about 150%, my cost has gone down in both absolute dollars and inflation-adjusted dollars. I can think of very few services that actually deliver 15x more product for less money.

Re:What a useless study. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483278)

But in any super poor country, pretty much everything costing more than $10 in the U.S. is going to be some 100x or 1000x multiple of the median local income.

More than that, when it comes to imports / technology / et al., its price will also be a result of multiplying at least few times those $10, even before getting into buying power of median local income.

Re:What a useless study. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482988)

perhaps we should start with something more basic, like access to clean water, absence of marauding militias, a level of education somewhere above shockingly bad, etc.

Yes, I don't like Arizona either.

Re:What a useless study. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483218)

In countries without devastating poverty, but still so called "developing", high technology is also typically quite expensive... (and that often includes "more expensive in absolute price" - in a given extreme example of Central African Republic, broadband appears to cost significantly more than 1000 USD per month; would you get it with such prices in the place you live?)

What a useless attitude (1)

WML MUNSON (895262) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483432)

Perhaps we should start with something more basic, like access to clean water, absence of marauding militias, a level of education somewhere above shockingly bad, etc.

...and perhaps we shouldn't. Just because western infrastructure developed in a certain order does not mean that the developing world should follow the same approach.

I, like many others, believe that delivering Internet access to the masses will be what finally enables the citizens of [poor country] to provide food, water, shelter, education, and a stable government for/to themselves.

Recent email from this country ... (1)

clyde_cadiddlehopper (1052112) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482234)

"Greetings Friend. I represent the estate of the recently deceased Minister of Telecommunications and Internet Services of the Central African Republic. I am writing to request your assistance with a matter involving tansference of a substantial sum of moneys ... "

Misplace Priority (3, Insightful)

argontechnologies (865043) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482254)

Perhaps the developed world should consider that when you can't feed yourself or your family, broadband is not really that high a priority. If you also factor in the illiteracy rate, it becomes even less of a priority. The things these countries need are much more basic and critical to survival. Clean safe water, renewable, self sustained sources of food. To hell with broadband, and I run an ISP.

Re:Misplace Priority (4, Funny)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482294)

If you also factor in the illiteracy rate, it becomes even less of a priority.

The literate can get by with unicode. The illiterate need h.264.

Re:Misplace Priority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482650)

If you also factor in the illiteracy rate, it becomes even less of a priority.

The literate can get by with unicode. The illiterate need h.264.

But the illiterate cannot afford h.264 - give them flash instead...

Re:Misplace Priority (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482312)

Back in olden times when literacy was very low, we had in western nations town criers who would stand on the corner and spread the news for people to listen. Sort of like modern day TV news or radio. Which with income as low as it is in most of those places would probably be more cost effective while the other problems are being fixed. Once you've got access to clean water, food, education and have the basic economy functioning, then the information component becomes both useful and essential.

Re:Misplace Priority (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482634)

AM/FM radio is much cheaper than hiring thousands of people to drive around shouting news. Solar powered radios is their best bet, as it's already being done [bbc.co.uk] in Kenya.

These countries have something western nations never had: already developed and mass produced technology.

Re:Misplace Priority (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483512)

But until they are the ones building it, they will have no economy.

Imagine, you may not move and there are no jobs. If I offer you a cellphone for half price ("only" several month's income), how much better off are you? Now, consider how much better off you will be if I offer you a job that pays you in a hard currency at 1st world minimum wage.

Sadly, you won't get that job offer. The best you;ll get is just a tiny bit better than the wages a local job offers but for much longer hours. I figure you're just desperate enough to take the offer. Mind you, I'll re-sell your labor in the first world for hundreds of times that much, it's just that you'll never see it.

Re:Misplace Priority (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483096)

Though to be fair: if a given place is developing, impoverished, et al. - it is, in a way, somewhat more likely to have renewable, self sustained sources of food (how they are often not enough is another issue)

In fact, your place is quite likely far from that ideal - agricultures of developed world rely to tremendous degree on hectares taken from the past (via energy stored in fossil fuels) and borrowed from the future (via spoiling the natural balance of surroundings)

Re:Misplace Priority (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483576)

Perhaps the developed world should consider that when you can't feed yourself or your family, broadband is not really that high a priority

My god, the ignorance around here is astounding. (That's an observation, not an insult.)

When you're struggling to get by, the one thing you want more than anything else is that your children don't have to struggle the way you did. Parents will go hungry in order to educate their children. I know; I see them do it all the time.

I'm really amazed that I have to write this again and again. Does nobody remember the century of immigration to the US, when people lived in abysmally poor conditions, willing to do anything in order for their children to succeed? (The slums of New York were in many ways far more desperate and deadly than most of rural Africa.) Does nobody realise that the reason their children were able to advance in society is because someone was building telephone networks, schools and colleges?

The problems of the developing world are manifold, that's absolutely true. Nothing is as simple or as easy as it seems. But to say that you have to solve hunger before you solve communications is like suggesting a baby learn to hop first, then walk, because after all, if he can't walk on one leg, what hope has he got of walking on two?

Broadband access isn't my hope for the world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482350)

Since when did broadband access become a right?

Hell, I think there's probably more detrimental things having to do with broadband access.
You lose your culture -- it is replaced by youtube and pictures of cats with captions.
You lose your intelligence and imagination -- it is replaced by farmville, mafia wars, and 4chan.
Hell, you even lose your literacy.

Then again, I guess it makes it easy for the government to control you that way: here, suck on the teat of the internet and let me take care of all of your problems.

Re:Broadband access isn't my hope for the world. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482666)

I assume you posted on /. via snail mail?

Re:Broadband access isn't my hope for the world. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482834)

Since July. [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Broadband access isn't my hope for the world. (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484264)

"Hell, I think there's probably more detrimental things having to do with broadband access.
You lose your culture -- it is replaced by youtube and pictures of cats with captions.
You lose your intelligence and imagination -- it is replaced by farmville, mafia wars, and 4chan.
Hell, you even lose your literacy."

But you don't lose your virginity.

completely bogus standard (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482388)

Saying "3891% of the average monthly income" without giving an actual price is ignorant and deceptive. It is completely meaningless to measure things this way when income in parts of the world can still be measured in pennies a day. It could very well be (and I suspect it is but don't have meaningful data to determine this) that the broadband cost there is actually less than what I pay. While I do think that it is important that the information on the Internet be available to everyone, and realize that this can help improve things many ways in the most economically depressed areas, it is not realistic to suggest that because wages are low in a country that everything should be given to them at costs that would bankrupt the providers. People who can't afford food or clean water, don't have electricity, and certainly can't afford a computer are not likely to be concerned about Internet services pricing, and if they are then their priorities are wrong.

Re:completely bogus standard (2, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33483554)

It's the only meaningful measure. For example, if we all made a million dollars a day, we wouldn't mind much if a decent meal cost $1000/person. OTOH, we would mind very much if a decent meal cost $0.05/person but we only made $0.01/day.

Yes, what they can afford would not be anywhere near enough for providers working at 1st world rates, but if you consider that those 3rd world wages are also coming from 1st world employers you start to see just how bad a deal they get.

They don't even have a government (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482580)

nevermind internet.

universal human right, purple kool-aid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33482728)

To quote the article... "Access to broadband should be an universal human right." Hmm , in these African countries, why not first focus on the things that are essential like clean water, healthy food, disease free (or reduced) living facilities before talking about having access to slashdot and cnn as being universal human rights?

My internet bill in Sweden (1, Informative)

_GNU_ (81313) | more than 4 years ago | (#33482790)

Including a small extra fee for access the municipal fiber network, for 1 month of 100/100Mbit with no caps or meters what so ever, I pay roughly 1.5 hours of my wage after taxes.. and I'm just above average for "low income".. I pay almost twice that for unmetered mobile 3G traffic on my phone though.. tethered to the laptop the gigs tend to run away so unmetered is the only way. ;)

As far as I've seen from the latest Akamai state of the internet reports, Scandinavia is losing ground to South Korea and some other quickly rising countries... We'll see.. ;)

Cost as a percentage of income? (1)

bartwol (117819) | more than 4 years ago | (#33484176)

Well...now that we've given up on costing in dollars, and instead as a percentage of income, all I have to do is raise my income and the cost, of EVERYTHING, goes down.

And that would be about as true as it is unhelpful to know.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?