New study from broadbandchoices.co.uk looks at the quality, availability and cost of internet access in 169 countries to find the most connected countries, as well as those that face the biggest barriers to getting online.
Internet Accessibility Index
Between home broadband, mobile internet and free public WiFi hotspots, staying connected is easier than ever, but how does the quality and cost of internet access vary around the world?
We scored 164 different countries, down from 169 in 2021, using 10 different ranking factors, including average internet speeds, the cost and affordability of home broadband deals, and the cost of 1Gb of mobile data, to find the worlds most and least connected countries.
Reading the index
The Internet Accessibility Index is fully interactive, click on the column header to sort the index by individual data points. To reset the table, click the ‘Rank’ or ‘Accessibility Score’, or refresh the page.
We’ve highlighted some of the major factors included in our study in the table above, but all ranking factors, including the percentage of a countries population with broadband and mobile internet access, the number of free public WiFi hotspots and hotspots per capita, as well as what percentage of web pages written in a country’s native language can be found here.
You can also download the data to browse offline, and an embed code is available via the sharing options in the top right-hand corner of the table.
To quickly find the results for a specific country, use the search bar at the top of the Index.
The most connected countries
With another strong performance across the board, Denmark retains the number one spot on broadbanchoices.co.uk’s Internet Accessibility Index.
Despite the market being heavily dominated by one provider, Danish internet users enjoy affordable internet and some of the best connection speeds in the world - proving that competition among providers isn’t always necessary.
Less than 0.1% of web pages are written in Danish, however, with a large majority of Danes speaking English as a second language, it’s unlikely to be a significant barrier to accessibility.
Up one spot from last year, the average recorded download speed over the last 12 months actually fell by 19% to 27.4 Mbps, and the average monthly cost increased by 3%.
On the other hand, the cost of a Gb of mobile data fell by almost a third (32%) from $9.6 to $6.5, helping the United States beat Lichtenstein to second place.
While there are more than 2900 internet service providers in the U.S, in reality, consumers will likely find themselves choosing from a much smaller pool of suppliers as some only operate within certain states or don’t service rural areas.
However, as the pace of the 5G rollout increases and prices become more competitive, 5G routers could help bring better connections to rural communities without the need of a fixed phone line.
Dropping from second to third place, the average recorded broadband speed from more than 37,000 tests was down considerably on the year, however, Liechtenstein still had the world's fastest average broadband speed for the second year in a row.
While the cost of a typical broadband package fell slightly, the cost of 1Gb of mobile data dropped by more than 30% from $6.7 in 2021 to $4.6 in 2022.
Countries with the fastest internet connections
Claiming 8 of the top 10 spots, Western European countries dominate the list of countries with the fastest internet download speeds. In fact, all Western European countries featured in our study scored among the top third in the world.
While the region boasts the fastest regional average of 32.67Mbps, our findings show a significant digital divide across the continent with average speeds in Eastern European countries being 110% slower than those in their Western European counterparts with average speeds of 15.53Mbps.
On the other end of the scale, Ethiopia (0.25Mbps), Equatorial Guinea (0.30Mbps), Timor-Leste (0.35Mbps), Afghanistan (0.36Mbps), and Turkmenistan (0.37Mbps) had the world's slowest average download speeds.
The UK ranked 24th (up 4 places) with an average connection speed of 23.04Mbps, while the United States held on to 13th place with 27.36Mbps.
Broadband Speed Vs Price - Countries that offer the best and worst value for money
Apart from Ukraine, the countries that offer the best value for money in terms of cost versus speed all ranked in the top third of the accessibility index.
Proving that strong infrastructure and accessible pricing are key drivers in creating an inclusive digital economy.
Of the countries with the worst value broadband, 8 of the bottom 10 are African Nations - 7 being Sub-Saharan Nations.
These countries are heavily reliant on mobile internet as a result of poor or overburdened infrastructure.
However, internet use is growing with companies including Huawei investing in the region.
The most and least expensive countries for 1GB of mobile data
More than half of the countries with the highest mobile data costs are island nations - or in the case of Greece, consisting of a number of islands.
Island nations or countries with particularly rugged terrain are more likely to use expensive satellite solutions rather than fibre optic networks, the cost of which is often passed on to the customer.
In many African countries, mobile internet is the primary way of accessing the web due to poor infrastructure and high monthly package costs. So to see African nations like Equitorial Guinea and Namibia among the most expensive data pricing poses a real barrier to internet inclusivity.
The majority of the countries with the cheapest mobile data pricing such as India, and Israel have good fibre optic networks, helping to keep service costs low.
In fact, Kazakhstan has one of the most advanced telecoms sectors in Central Asia.
However, countries like Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan who rely on mobile data to access the internet offer cheap data packages despite not having good fibre networks.
Rob Baillie from broadbandchoices.co.uk commented: “For the second year in a row, our research has highlighted the divide in not just the quality of internet access around the world but also its inclusivity, with a significant number of people being priced out of the market - potentially having huge ramifications on education and employment prospects.
“However, the gap between the best and worst connected regions closed slightly over the last 12 months, with the difference between the regions with the most and least affordable internet falling by 16%.
“While there have been significant advances in communications technology in recent years, more needs to be done to connect rural and economically challenged communities. Doing so will likely require higher levels of investment, but advances in 5G technology could bring faster and more stable connections to these areas without the expense of having to install traditional infrastructure.
“Reliable and affordable internet access is key in order to be competitive in an increasingly digital global economy, and with the events of the last two years only speeding up the move towards fully digital and remote industries, developing countries are at risk of being left behind.”
A full methodology document and data sources can be found here.