The Inclusive Internet Index commissioned by Facebook and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked Nigeria in the 56th position out of 86 countries surveyed.
The survey index, which is in its second year, provides a rigorous benchmark of national-level Internet inclusion across four categories: availability, affordability, relevance, and readiness.
The availability scorecard examines the quality and breadth of available infrastructure required for access and levels of Internet usage while affordability examines the cost of access relative to income and the level of competition in the Internet marketplace.
Relevance, on the other hand, examines the existence and extent of local language content and relevant content and readiness focus on the capacity to access the Internet, including skills, cultural acceptance, and supporting policy.
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Nigeria stood in the 4th position out of 24 African countries surveyed as it leads other African countries in affordability while occupying 17th in the world, thanks to robust competition.
However, on availability it ranked poor – 71st out of 86 due to low usage and quality, especially for fixed broadband.
This year’s index, which covers 91% of the world’s population, is published alongside a new global Value of the Internet Survey, which polled 4,267 respondents from 85 countries, from Singapore and Switzerland to Cambodia and Ethiopia, to gauge perceptions on how Internet use affects people’s lives.
The index report indicated that Internet connectivity grew 8.3 percent over the past year, with a 65.1 percent increase in low-income countries.
In the 70 countries included in both the 2017 and 2018 indices, the percentage of households connected to the Internet increased on average from 44.9 percent to 48.6 percent, growing by 8.3 percent.
The report noted that progress was fastest in low-income countries, where the proportion of households with Internet access grew from 8.0 percent to 13.2 percent, a 65.1 percent improvement, with the largest year-on-year increases in Rwanda (490.8%), Nepal (138.1%) and Tanzania (87.8%).
It equally noted that the mobile Internet gap between the rich and poor is shrinking. “The availability of mobile Internet services is an especially vital component of inclusion in low-income countries, where fixed-line Internet access is expensive or inaccessible.
This year’s index reveals that the coverage of 4G networking services grew significantly, as networks in low-income countries are being upgraded,” it said.
Meanwhile, the cost of mobile connectivity is also falling. In low-income countries, the average cost of a 500MB mobile broadband connection fell from 12.1 percent of monthly income in 2017 to 10.0 percent in 2018, a 17.3 percent cost reduction.
“The gender gap in Internet inclusion is still far too pervasive. On average across the indexed countries, men are 33.5 percent more likely to have Internet access than women, and this gap is substantially more pronounced in lower-income countries. More men have access to the Internet than women in 69 out of the 86 countries included in the index.
“But governments have tools at their disposal to improve the enabling environment for women’s Internet usage, including setting gender-specific targets in national digital plans, embedding Internet access in wider gender equality plans, targeting women and girls in ICT skills training programs and making careers in ICT more attractive to them,” the report stated.