US, UK, Western Europe fail to hit top 50 cheapest broadband list

Syria, Sudan, Belarus, Ukraine came top. Are you starting to see a pattern?

In an analysis of 3,356 fixed-line broadband deals in 220 countries, price comparison website Cable.co.uk found that the UK has the 92nd cheapest internet, beating the US, which came in 134th place.

Based on 41 packages, the average cost per month for broadband in Britain came in at $39.01. Stateside, this rose to $55, from 34 packages measured.

For these bulwarks of western democracy, 92nd and 134th place isn't particularly impressive. But if you really want to shave the dollars off your internet bill, you have a number of options.

Syria once again came in at number one for cheapest broadband at an average $2.15 per month. This was followed by Sudan at $4.80. In third was Belarus at $7.40, and fourth was Ukraine at $7.40.

Now, forgive us if we're wrong, but there appears to be a common tie between the countries with the cheapest broadband – they are all currently difficult places to live.

Syria's rock-bottom prices were due to its depreciated currency. Only 50 percent of the population has access to internet, said Cable.co.uk, and – lest we forget – there's still the civil war, going strong since 2011.

Also no stranger to civil war, Sudan's internet access is limited to its urban areas and fixed-line services are slow, Cable.co.uk said. Only a third of the population are online.

In contrast, 85 percent of Belarus is connected, and the Eastern European country has been heavily investing in its IT sector and full-fiber networks. The only problem is that Belarus is Belarus, run by Russian president Vladimir Putin's best buddy and "Europe's last dictator" Alexander Lukashenko.

Interestingly, Cable.co.uk said of number four: "Ukraine's internet packages are cheap, and also very fast, as a result of a well-developed fibre infrastructure. Urban residents benefit from better connectivity than those in rural areas."

In the understatement of the week, the analyst added: "Obviously, things are changing fast in the country." Whether there will be much left of the infrastructure once Putin's war concludes remains to be seen. Of course, rounding out the top five was Russia at $8.07.

At the other end of the scale, Burundi in East Africa was most expensive at an astonishing $429.95 per month followed by Sierra Leone ($316.69), Brunei Darussalam in Borneo ($258.42), British Virgin Islands ($184), and Turks and Caicos Islands (£170.50).

If it's any consolation to Brits, not a single country within Western Europe ranked in the top 50, but Italy ($27.70), Germany ($27.81), and France ($28.92) were all cheaper. Likewise, all countries in North America were in the bottom half of the table.

Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, commented: "This year we have noticed a greater weighting towards currency devaluation in the top half of the table. For example, first-place Syria, whose Syrian Pound has lost three-quarters of its value against the US dollar in the last 12 months.

"Island nations such as those in the Caribbean and Oceania continue to present problems when it comes to providing cheap, fast connectivity options. Those lucky enough to have an undersea cable running close by tend to be able to offer it, where others have to lean into pricier hybrid satellite, 4G and/or WiMAX solutions. It's hard to see how more affordable connectivity for the general population will be coming anytime soon to those countries at the bottom of the table, plagued as they are with limitations that are geographical and geopolitical, and where there is a lack of desire in the marketplace for fixed-line broadband solutions."

All of which goes to show that, based on economic and geopolitical matters, you want the country where you live to be around the middle of the table rather than the top. ®

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