The high cost of data and expensive cell phone devices are hampering internet access across Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum.
A measly 1GB data plan costs 2.7% of monthly income for millions of households. Phone devices are equally expensive. A basic smartphone accounts for 4% – 12% of average household income in much of the region.
The high cost for basic devices has kept millions of people away from the World Wide Web. While 87% of the population lives within range of a 4G signal, actual usage and penetration remains at 37%.
Today, less than 50% of LAC’s population has fixed broadband connectivity, the most reliable internet infrastructure in the world.
A strong broadband infrastructure holds the key to giving people with easy access to financial and healthcare services, the organization told the regional governments.
Almost half of the region’s adult population is unbanked, and nearly 170 million students are struggling to learn following the closure of schools because of the pandemic.
Currently, almost 71% of countries in the region have experienced disruptions to the delivery of care because of weaker internet access, the report noted.