PNG tops Pacific in internet cost

Papua New Guinea tops the list of 12 Pacific countries in a study carried out by Network Strategies of New Zealand on internet access affordability published on its website.

Solomon Islands has the second most expensive internet service in the Pacific region.

According to them, the last updated report on internet access affordability on Pacific Islands was three years ago.

“Technological progress in Internet access is slowly but surely being felt in the Pacific.”

It states that ADSL and/or fixed wireless broadband is available in all the countries they have included in their analysis including newcomer Nauru.

“The die-off of dial-up services that was noted back in 2012 is continuing, to the point that we have not included this in our analysis, and have instead replaced it with a new category – mobile broadband, that is now available for laptops in some countries,” it added.

It noted that fixed broadband affordability has improved a lot in all countries, but even a low-level use of 2GB per month requires more than 100 percent of average monthly income in both Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

At the other end of the scale, in five countries the same usage level takes less than 10 percent of monthly income, with star performer the Cook Islands taking just 1.5 percent.

Affordability of the new mobile broadband services varies widely, with a very low usage of 500MB per month being equivalent to 2.7 percent of average monthly income in Fiji up to 35 percent of monthly income in Kiribati.

It adds that the affordability of fixed broadband services has also been improving in the Pacific for both low and high-levels of usage.

“However, in the two least affordable countries Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, even the significant improvements shown still do not bring the monthly cost of fixed broadband services down below 100 percent of annual income.

“Five of the 12 countries analysed now require less than 10 percent of average annual income for a low-level of fixed broadband usage, including newcomer Nauru.

“For a high-level use of fixed broadband only three countries break the 10 percent barrier.”

Despite improvement in some of the pacific island countries on mobile Internet available for handsets, it is not yet included in the report, it noted.

“These services are not considered here, but will be included in our upcoming analysis of mobile services in the Pacific Islands.”