Where Fixed Broadband Prices in Developing Nations Need to Go

Affordability is a key driver of service adoption, even when latent demand is high. That is especially true for fixed broadband access services in developing nations, where prices are dropping rapidly.

Where in 2008 the cost of a fixed network broadband connection represented as much as 165 percent of per-person income, since then, prices have dropped about 500 percent, according to International Telecommunications Union data. 

Still, there is some distance to go. In developed nations, fixed network Internet access represents about 1.7 percent of per-person income. In developing nations, fixed network Internet access represents about 31 percent of per-person income. 

That is why mobile Internet access widely is expected to represent the way most people in developing regions get access to the Internet. For fixed services to reach cost parity (in local terms), retail prices would have to drop another 18 times. 

Prices lower by an order of magnitude is helpful. But prices might need to drop another two orders of magnitude to reach developed region levels. One might suggest that is unlikely to happen over the next decade or two. 

It is far easier to envision mobile Internet access prices dropping by an order of magnitude over that period 

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