Passengers use smartphones at Mumbai Central railway station. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Affordable Internet In India On The Rise, But Not So Globally: Report

Global access to the internet, which rose till 2016, is now on the decline, according to a report by the Alliance For Affordable Internet—A4AI.

The report estimates that in the 61 countries that were analysed, over two billion people live where even 1 gigabyte of mobile data is unaffordable—more so in low- and middle-income countries. The biggest challenge, according to the report, was affordability of broadband internet services—or the lack of it.

India Gains, Brazil Declines

The Affordability Index, or ADI Index, is based on two policy decisions—infrastructure and affordability. Countries like Brazil and India saw the biggest changes in rankings in the index. While India rose by 9 places to the 8th position, Brazil dropped seven places to 13. The report credits this to reasons such as increased investments in public access solutions and Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s support for a “competitive mobile market”. India was also ranked highest in market competition in mobile telephony and saw the second-highest increase in “private sector investments in the market.”

Brazil’s ranking fell due to “slowing growth in smartphone adoption rates and delay in rule implementation to improve public rights-of-way facilitation and tower zoning permissions.

The foundation had predicted in 2017 there would be “50% global internet penetration by the year-end”. But according to the report’s 2018 findings, achieving this target would be challenging before mid-2019.