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Affordability: How does affordability affect digital inclusion?

Affordability is a notoriously slippery concept to measure. Different households and consumers have varying financial capacity and the wide range of offerings may be difficult for some consumers to navigate. Bundling, data caps and differing speeds make a simple measure of affordability difficult to achieve. International comparisons of ‘internet cost’, although far from perfect, consistently show Australia to be a relatively high-cost country.

The website Numbeo (www.numbeo.com), for example, compares the monthly cost of an internet connection that delivers 10Mbps with unlimited data. In their list Australia comes out at 88 out of 119 putting us at the more expensive end of the spectrum.

Despite the measurement complexity, affordability is a key aspect of digital inclusion and we need to develop the best possible indicators as part of our index.

 

Some key questions

  • How should we measure affordability?
  • Is there a particular connection type that should be measured?
  • How does affordability affect digital inclusion?
  • How does the cost of necessary equipment such as computers, tablets and mobile phones affect digital inclusion?

Sample indicators

  • Cost of a standard broadband connection
  • Cost of a standard broadband connection as a proportion of a statutory income support payment
  • Cost of a standard mobile broadband connection
  • Cost of equipment such as computers, tablets and mobile phones

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