Bangladesh Bangladesh meets UN’s internet affordability target

Isa Khan

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Bangladesh has met the affordable cost target for fixed or mobile broadband internet as per the United Nations Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development in 2021.

Bangladesh is among the world's 46 least developed countries with internet costs at less than 2% of gross national income (GNI) per capita, according to a recent report by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).

The report gives an overview of the world-wide changes in internet affordability based on 2021's price data collection.

The UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development has announced its affordability target, in 2018, to reduce the cost of broadband services below 2% of monthly GNI per capita by 2025.

The data, available for both 2020 and 2021, reveals that fewer economies have met the 2% affordability target in 2021 than in 2020.

"Broadband services have ceased to be a mere luxury," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.

"They are a necessity for communication, teleworking, online education, and other essential services. Still, we must urgently address the issue of affordability if we hope to achieve our goal of universal and meaningful connectivity."

Worldwide, only 96 economies met the UN Broadband Commission target for the prices of data-only mobile broadband prices in 2021, seven fewer than in 2020. At the same time, only 64 economies met the Commission's target for fixed-broadband prices, down by two from 2020, states the report.

Only 4 least developed countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal – met the broadband target in 2021.

"The affordability gap for internet access between those living in low- and middle-income countries and those living in high income countries is inexcusably high," said Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI.

"Moreover, people in rural areas, and women everywhere, are disproportionately affected. A continued failure to address this worsens the situation for those who need help the most. The public and private sectors must work together towards affordable connectivity," the director recommended.


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