Nearly 45% of households in Latin America and the Caribbean were connected to the Internet in 2015, almost double the amount seen in 2010.
The percentage of Internet users in the region grew 10.6% per year between 2000 and 2015, according to a report by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
Interestingly, the number of households connected to the Internet grew at an annual average of 14.1% in the last five years.
Access to mobile broadband connections increased sharply, surging from 7% to 58% of the region’s population between 2010 and 2015. At 95.5%, Costa Rica had the greatest penetration of mobile broadband.
“There is a great difference in access levels between the countries of the region: of the 24 countries analyzed in 2015, three had household Internet penetration that was below 15%; 15 were between 15% and 45%; another three were between 45% and 56%; and only Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay reached 60%,” says the report.
Service costs are also falling rapidly. In 2010, a fixed broadband service of 1Mbps cost around 18% of the average monthly income. By early 2016, that figure fell to 2%.
Affordability also increased for prepaid data packages. In several countries, 30-day packages cost less than 2% of average household income, the report highlights.
Despite this progress, there are still problems with quality (connection speeds) and the equitableness of access to the Internet (differences according to geographic location and the population’s socioeconomic situation), according to the document.
No country in the region has at least 5% of its connections with speeds of more than 15Mbps, while in advanced countries this percentage is 50%. In other words, a vast part of rural Latin America is yet to have access to high-speed networks.