Consumers worldwide getting a better deal on broadband

Analysis from Point Topic's latest report on global broadband tariffs shows that consumers are getting a better deal on prices and speeds than ever before.

We have looked at global and regional averages for subscription pricing and speeds on offer across the three major broadband technologies, DSL, cable and fiber. Average prices for a DSL subscription have fallen 20% worldwide over the first three quarters of 2008, cable prices are down 12% and fiber by 6.5%.

Point Topic collates data every quarter from operators that service 95% of the worlds' broadband consumers. This allows comparative analysis across time of the prices, speeds and other packages on offer. This analysis is based on standalone packages only, while many operators offer bundles of services (broadband + phone + IPTV and sometimes mobile) the differing content of these packages makes direct comparison impossible.

There are wide variations on subscription price and speed across regions and technologies. To aid comparison Point Topic has calculated the average amount a consumer will pay for a megabit of bandwidth per month.

DSL is the most expensive broadband service, with prices ranging from $3.85 per megabit in Asia Pacific to $46.42 per megabit in the Middle East and Africa. Cable ranges from $2.35 per megabit in Asia Pacific to $15.51 per megabit in Latin America. When compared region to region cable averages between 60% and 80% the cost of DSL per megabit.

The exception being North America where consumers pay more than three times as much for DSL bandwidth as they do for cable.

Fiber still leads the way when it comes to cost effective bandwidth. There aren't enough offerings at a country level to do a regional comparison, however we can look at individual countries

The high speeds on offer over a fiber connection mean 1 megabit of bandwidth costs just $0.90 per month in South Korea and can go as low as $0.44 in Japan. At the more expensive end the average charge in the Northern European grouping of Sweden, Denmark and Norway is $1.82/Mb and consumers pay $2.18/Mb in Hong Kong and China.

Fiber is the best choice for the cost conscious consumer. It offers more bandwidth and monthly subscriptions are often even lower than DSL and cable services in the same markets.

Fiona Vanier, senior analyst, Point Topic.