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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Declining prices: Telecom services yet to increase Internet penetration - ITREALMS

The latest global analysts of prices for mobile-voice, mobile-data and fixed-broadband services suggest that affordability is not the only barrier to Internet uptake, says the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), reports ITREALMS.

ITU in its Measuring Digital Development: ICT Price Trends 2019, made available to ITREALMS, noted that on​ average, prices for mobile-voice, mobile-data and fixed-broadband services are decreasing steadily around the world, and in some countries even dramatically.

The reduction in price, as said by the ITU Secretary-General, Mr Houlin Zhao, is relative to income is even more dramatic, suggesting that, globally, telecommunication and information and communication technology services are becoming more affordable.

“However, both trends do not translate into rapidly increasing Internet penetration rates which suggest that there are other barriers to Internet use,” he said.

"Keeping telecommunication and digital services as affordable as possible has always been important to ensure broader Internet uptake, especially for lower-income households and consumers," he said, stressing that in the face of COVID-19, this is more vital than ever.

“People who do not have access to the Internet may not be able to access information about how to protect themselves from coronavirus, telework, learn remotely and connect with families and friends during quarantine," Zhao said.

ITREALMS gathered that the latest statistics from ITU confirmed that affordability may not be the only barrier to Internet uptake, and that other factors such as low level of education, lack of relevant content, lack of content in local languages, lack of digital skills, and a low-quality Internet connection may also prevent effective use.

Also speaking, the Director, ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, the COVID-19 crisis has clearly shown that nobody is safe until all are safe.

“By the same token, we will not be able to use the full potential of digital technologies until we are all connected. To connect all, we need to address all factors that may prevent meaningful connectivity," Bogdan-Martin said.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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