The reason behind this article is, when you compare the cost of using the internet in a developed country like the USA to the cost of using the internet in a developing country in Africa like Ghana, you would tend to know that, internet cost less in the USA than any African country. For example, internet data in the USA or any European country is mostly purchased on a monthly bases with unlimited data, but what causes the cost to vary is the speed (Bandwidth) thus a $70 monthly subscription might give a speed of 25 Mbps down/ 25 Mbps up and $55 a month equals 15 Mbps down/ 5 Mbps up. Here in Africa, using Ghana as an example, $64 (GHC 300) for a month which you are told is unlimited but yet, you use it for just 2 weeks and it gets finished or the speed is drastically reduced. Pretty funny right?
So the question is, why is the internet so expensive and slow in Africa. Africans should have had cheaper internet because we are not financially rich to purchase expensive internet and would have needed faster internet as well to help as grow as a continent. But a big NO to all that because the Telcos are not running a charity network or organisation, they work for profit.
Africa is a big continent with a massive population. The population density, or more specifically the customer density, has a huge impact on the economics of telecommunications. Telecommunications infrastructure is also very expensive. Income in Africa does not warrant massive expenditure, thus the income of African is so low to even cater for internet. The cost of providing internet in San Francisco where almost every home is connected to the internet is very much less than the cost of providing service to a small number of widely spaced locations. This is true even with the huge difference in labor cost.
Africa has two things going against it. It’s huge, and many people can’t afford internet access. This becomes a chicken and egg problem in the sense that the distance between the rich and the poor is so wide, not so many people can buy internet services which makes it even more expensive for those who do.
Like many less developed areas, Africa has largely skipped the whole wired internet and jumped straight to mobile. That doesn’t help the speed but it does help with the costs because a cell tower can cover a pretty wide area. So though, internet cost in some African countries are less than others, the speed isn’t pretty fast as compared to the USA.
And lastly, the illiteracy rate in Africa is too high, so people were not exposed to the use of the internet at an early stage. This makes it hard for people to get the essence of connecting their homes to the internet. If most homes in Africa knew its importance and had their homes connected to the internet, the cost of internet would have been less and its speed would have been fast due to competitiveness between service providers.
But there is still hope for Africa.