The global Internet usage rate continues to grow – with more than 5,3-billion people or 65,7% of the world`s population using the Internet at the start of Q4 2023 – but as the Internet coverage gap continues to narrow, the price gap remains wide, even between developed markets.

According to the latest Data Reportal survey, the world`s connected population has grown by 189-million users or 3,7% in the 12 months to October 2023. Although this growth rate is a bit slower than in recent years, the global Internet population has still reached an impressive 5,3-billion.

But the price of an Internet connection still significantly varies from one country to another. The Digital Quality of Life Index 2023 study by VPN provider Surfshark showed Japan, Romania, and Germany are the three countries with the most affordable Internet globally. In 2023, the Japanese had to work only 26 minutes per month on the average salary to afford the cheapest monthly broadband contract available in the country. This means that Japanese had to work twice less than Americans to afford an Internet connection, who worked an average of 51 minutes per month to cover this cost.

Germany was also ahead of the US, with 36 minutes of work per month. Still, that was twice more than the cost in Romania, the country with the least expensive Internet connection globally. Statistics show Romanians worked only 18 minutes per month to afford the cheapest monthly broadband contract – far less than any other nation.

In other European countries, like Spain and Greece, it is a different story. Although both countries have affordable and reliable Internet connections, costs are far above Germany and Romania. Statistics show Spaniards had to work an hour and 22 minutes a month to cover Internet costs; Greeks were even worse, with a price equivalent to three hours and 42 minutes of work.

The Surfshark study also showed that the countries with the worst Internet connection also have the least affordable Internet in the world. Zimbabwe and Nigeria are the best examples.

Statistics show Zimbabweans worked nearly 73 hours a month on the average salary to afford the cheapest monthly broadband contract – far more than any other nation – and despite the country having one of the worst broadband connection speeds among the 121 surveyed countries.

Nigeria has the second most expensive Internet connection, with a price equivalent to 32 hours and 25 minutes of work.

Several Central and Latin American countries like El Salvador, Mexico, and Brazil face the same problem. This imbalance comes from a mixture of poor infrastructure and low Internet penetration rates which result in a higher cost for a product that is not fully available.