Davion Smith, BVI News Journalist
The British Virgin Islands has been confirmed to be an underperforming country that has one of the most expensive internet services on the planet.
United Kingdom researchers reported that, of the 196 countries in the world, the BVI was ranked at number 181 in order of internet affordability.
Rank number-one is considered to be the cheapest and that spot is held by Iran, which has an average monthly cost of US$5.37.
According to the 2017 study conducted by UK consultancy company BDRC Continental, Burkina Faso is the most expensive country, with an average internet package of US$954.54 per month.
The BVI is a mere 15 spots behind that country because it charges residents an average of US$146.05 per month for internet service.
However, the territory is not the most expensive country in the region.
Haiti is ranked at number 191 and is deemed the most expensive Caribbean country to get internet service. Its average monthly cost is US$224.19.
The Cayman Islands is ranked at 190 with an average cost of US$175.27, while the neighbouring US Virgin has an average internet price of US$88.02.
The cheapest Caribbean country for internet service is St Martin, which is rank number 19 for its average monthly internet package of $US20.72.
More than 3,000 broadband packages across the globe were recorded and analysed by BDRC Continental, and Cable.co.uk between August 18 and October 12 this year.
The study revealed what researchers describe as ‘vast global disparities’ in the cost of getting online.
Underperforming internet speeds
Meanwhile, in a previous study, the BVI ranked better globally in terms of internet speed. But it is still classified as an underperforming territory.
The territory was ranked number 77 with an average speed of 5.49 megabits per second. That report showed that on average, it took more than three hours to download a high definition movie in the BVI.
Singapore ranks as the world’s fastest country with speeds of 55.13 megabits per second. On the other hand, Yemen ranks as the slowest with an average speed of 0.34 megabits per second.
The internet speed study was done over a 12-month period up to May 2017. Researchers (BDRC Continental and Cable.co.uk) noted that 139 countries failed to achieve average speeds above 10 megabits per second, a speed deemed by telecoms watchdog Ofcom to be the minimum required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business.
Meanwhile, the three main telecommunications providers in the BVI – Digicel, Flow, and CCT – have all been criticised for what residents describe as extremely poor internet services offered at inflated prices.
They, along with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Communications, have been under fire for years for their overall treatment of broadband service in the BVI.