Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) rankings of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) has ranked Nigeria 13 out of 58 countries surveyed in terms of adoption and use of Internet access by its citizens.
The ADI does not measure actual broadband prices, nor does it tell how affordable broadband is in a given country. Instead, it scores countries across two main policy groups, which are infrastructure (extent to which ICT infrastructure has been deployed as well as the policy framework in place to encourage future infrastructure expansion) and access (that is current broadband adoption rates as well as the policy framework in place to enable equitable access).
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta at the ITU Telecoms World 2017 in Busan, South Korea, disclosed that broadband penetration in the country currently stands at 22 per cent.
Meanwhile, in a document made available to The Guardian, A4AI explained that each country is awarded score (out of 100) across a range of variables within each grouping, and is then ranked against the other countries in the ADI. Higher scores indicate the existence of a combination of factors, which contribute to lower the cost structure for broadband provision and eventually lower prices.
High ADI scores are correlated with reduced broadband costs–both for industry and for consumers. The rankings reflects country’s relative performance compared to other countries, this means that even if a country does reasonably well on the ADI, if it does not perform better than others then its ranking will not improve.
Countries which ranked ahead of Nigeria includes Colombia, which ranked number one, has access score of 85.28; infrastructure score of 58.15 per cent and an ADI score of 72.87 per cent. Mexico is second with 71.47 per cent ADI score; Peru is third with 70.84 per cent; Malaysia has 68.65 per cent; Costa Rica is fifth with 67.40 per cent ADI score. Other countries ahead of Nigeria are Equador (63.81); Argentina (63.62); Mauritius (61.70); Turkey (61.13); Brazil (60.78); Morocco (57.75) and Jamaica (56.88) respectively.
Countries including Domican Republic (55.49); Botswana (55.37); Vietnam (53.55); Thailand (53.40); Cote’d’Ivoire (53.25); Bolivia (52.83); Honduras (51.63); South Africa (51.20) and 36 others ranked below Nigeria.
A4A1 explained that Colombia ranked number one on the ADI for the second year running due to increases in available international bandwidth, improvements in competition policy and the expansion of access to under-served areas through programmes such as the Plan Vive Digital. It stressed that the country has also recently launched a new programme to subsidise the cost of both data and devices for those living in poverty and those who have never been online before.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has predicted that by 2019, the volume of global Internet traffic is expected to increase 66 times from what it was in 2005.
UNCTAD in its Information Economy Report 2017 said the international community has a huge responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind in this transformation process.
Given the very rapid evolution of the digital economy, many developing countries will need to develop or strengthen their capabilities in a wide range of policy areas, including in all key aspects of e-trade readiness: connectivity, payment solutions, trade logistics, Internet security and legal frameworks.
UNCTAD said the digital economy is evolving fast but at very different speeds, stressing that the global production of ICT goods and services now amounts to an estimated 6.5 per cent of world’s gross domestic product (GDP), with some 100 million people being employed in the ICT services sector alone.
According to the report, exports of ICT services grew by 40 per cent between 2010 and 2015, adding, worldwide e-commerce sales in 2015 reached $25.3 trillion, 90 per cent of which were in the form of business-to-business e-commerce and 10 per cent in the form of business-to-consumer (B2C) sales.
The UN’s body noted that monitoring the digital divide remains important, though the number of Internet users grew by 60 per cent between 2010 and 2015, more than half of the world’s population remains offline.
The report noted that broadband connectivity in developing countries, when available, tends to be relatively slow and expensive, limiting the ability of businesses and people to use it productively.
“Only 16 per cent of the world’s adult population uses the Internet to pay bills or purchase items. And while more than 70 per cent of the population in several developed countries already buys goods and services online, the equivalent share in most LDCs is less than two per cent,” it stated.