Broadband Affordability across The Caribbean

Image by Pixelkult from Pixabay

Two pieces of news caught my eye recently. The first was Cable & Wireless Communications (trading as Flow in Barbados) partnering with the Government of Barbados to provide 1,000 low-income families with access to high speed Internet. The second was the release of the Broadband Affordability Index by Broadband Genie (a UK entity). The latter compared Internet bills to average salaries across 132 countries worldwide. In this post, I look at how Caribbean countries rank against each other and select countries around the world.

Before doing so, why is affordable broadband Internet so important to begin with? Here are three reasons in no particular order:

  1. Access to government services and civic engagement. Many regional governments are looking at delivering government services online.
  2. Communication and connectivity. Broadband Internet allows for reliable and fast communication and connects people around the globe be it for work, pleasure or both.
  3. Increasing economic and educational opportunities. Several of which include enabling remote work, e-commerce, and accessing international markets, and being able to study and learn completely online with various colleges and universities.

The first step was to copy and paste the raw data into Excel. From there, some basic cleaning, formatting, currency conversion (Pounds to USD, 1 = 1.30), and filtering was performed. Once that was done, I turned my attention to Caribbean countries, which for the purpose of this post I define as member states and associate members of CARICOM.

As per CARICOM’s website, member states are as follows: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago (15). Associate Members are as follows: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands (5). This gives us a total of 20 countries.

Broadband Genie’s report did not include data on all CARICOM countries. Their methodology provides further information on this with countries with low population values (Montserrat and St. Kitts & Nevis for example), insufficient data, and unreliable exchange rates being excluded. Furthermore, they define high speed Internet as 60Mb or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL (mobile data is excluded).

As such, of the 20 CARICOM countries (members and associate members), data was only available for 11. This consisted of 10 member states and 1 associate member state presented in the table below:

Table 1 - Internet cost as a % of average salary in the Caribbean
Table 1 – Internet cost as a % of average salaries in the Caribbean
Chart 1 - Internet cost as a % of Average Salaries
Chart 1 – Internet cost as a % of Average Salaries

From the above table and chart, Haiti has the least affordable broadband where residents spend 20.36% of their salary on broadband, while in the Cayman Islands, residents spend 3.03% of their salary. Compared to select countries across the world, Hong Kong has the most affordable broadband where residents spend 0.73% of their salary on broadband while in Turkmenistan, residents spend 93.26% of their salary. In the United States, residents spend 1.77% of their salaries on broadband and in the United Kingdom, residents spend 1.42% of their salaries.

Unsurprisingly, the factors behind these differences vary. For example, Alex Tofts, a broadband expert with Broadband Genie has this to say about the US and Canada:

“The United States and Canada both have one of the highest internet costs. It’s driven by a lack of competition and bigger distances to connect with lower population density than other developed countries. However, both have average wages in the top fifteen in the world, compensating for the high cost of internet.”

Finally, using myself as an individual example, if I take my net salary (i.e., my take home pay at the end of the month) and my monthly broadband bill, it works out to me spending 2.13% of my salary on broadband. is the personal blog of Amit Uttamchandani. The information presented here does not represent the views, beliefs, opinions, et cetera, of Amit’s employers or associates (past or present).