LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Problems with simplistic price comparisons

The World Economic Forum recently published some broadband price comparisons that generated some social media conversation, mostly because Sri Lanka, which had the lowest broadband prices according to the ITU, was now the 17th cheapest. LIRNEasia Research Manager Shazna Zuhyle who is active in the ITU’s indicators committees had this to say:

The WEF has employed a consulting consultancy firm to gather the data that was then analysed by cable.co.uk. They have simply captured all fixed residential broadband plans per country, averaged the monthly cost and converted to USD. This is hardly fit for international comparison in my opinion. So our ranking of #17 is a simple conversion of LKR value to USD, also not included in the comparison is how much we’re getting for this monetary value. Some countries may have a higher USD value but users will be getting more bang for the buck in terms on monthly data cap allowances – that aspect is not captured. Irrespective, if it were at least compared using GNI p.c or PPP $ would mean some adjustments as made for a better global comparison.

We, with little resources, agonize over how to present useful price data. The WEF with its massive resources can surely do better.

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