Fixed broadband tariffs in Q2 2020 (Updated)

Broadband tariff benchmarks for residential and business broadband services

We have compared broadband tariffs across different technologies in Q2 2020, looking at price and speed variations in various parts of the world.

Residential broadband packages

In Q2 2020, the average monthly charge for fibre connections decreased by 4.9% while the price of cable broadband went up by 1.2%, compared to Q4 2019. The average subscription of copper-based broadband services has also increased by 1.4%. Driven by the lower cost of fibre, the average monthly charge for residential broadband services overall fell by 2.2% and stood at $91 PPP.

The average bandwidth provided to residential subscribers has gone up by 17% compared to Q4 2019. The boost was caused by the increase in bandwidth provided over cable and fibre networks. In Q2 2020, the average download speeds over cable increased by 23.8%, as more DOCSIS3.1 tariffs with gigabit speeds are becoming available. In the same period, the average download speeds over fibre grew by 11.1%, compared to Q4 2019. We have recorded 290 residential gigabit tariffs (with bandwidth of at least 900Mbps) in Q2 2020, compared to 260 in Q4 2019.


In Q2 2020, the combined average cost per Mbps on broadband packages provided over the three technologies has dropped by 17.5% to $0.33. This fall was caused by the drop in the average cost per Mbps of all three technologies: -15.6% for cable, -11.8% for fibre, and -3.9% for copper.  In terms of the cost per Mbps, copper remains by far the most expensive technology.

Business broadband packages

In Q2 2020, the average monthly charge for standalone business broadband was $211 PPP, down by 3.2% from Q4 2019. This decrease was driven by the drop in the cost of cable and fibre broadband connections: -8.8% and -4.4% respectively. Meanwhile the average monthly cost of copper based broadband increased by 0.6% over the same period.

At the same time, the combined average bandwidth grew by 5.4% and stood at 216Mbps. This was mainly caused by the boost in the average speed over cable.  Copper and fibre maintained the same average download speed compared to the previous quarter.

At the end of Q2 2020, the average combined cost per Mbps for business broadband packages dropped by 7.5% and stood at $0.98 PPP. In comparison with Q4 2019, copper connections became cheaper by 2.2%.  The average cost per Mbps of cable connections over the same period dropped by 10.4% while the cost of fibre dropped by 4.2%.

Regional tariffs and bandwidths

In this section, we have compared the average subscription charges and corresponding bandwidths in different regions across the world. All prices are quoted in international US dollars at PPP rates to allow direct comparison between regions.

Residential broadband packages

For many quarters now, Asia-Pacific has retained its dominant position in terms of average bandwidth as operators in the region continue to push fibre services. In Q2 2020,  the average bandwidth in this region was 657Mbps, up from 469Mbps in Q4 2019. Southeast Asia and Western Europe followed with 340Mbps and 329Mbps respectively, up from 292Mbps and 293Mbps in Q4 2019, as deployments of FTTH/P/B, VDSL and superfast cable continued.  North America, where DOCSIS3.0, DOCSIS3.1 and FTTH/P rollouts are ongoing, followed with 307Mbps, up from 275Mbps in Q4 2019.


Middle East and Africa, where operators are focusing on mobile markets and technologies, had the lowest average fixed broadband download speed at 63Mbps. Due to the limited supply of fixed broadband, it was also the most expensive region. With still relatively low fixed broadband penetration, Latin America followed as the second most expensive market offering the second lowest average bandwidth at 131Mbps.

Business broadband packages

In Q2 2020, the lowest priced average monthly tariffs were offered in Western Europe and Eastern Europe. While remaining the most expensive market, Asia-Pacific offered the highest average download speeds at 405Mbps with an average monthly cost of $430 (PPP). In comparison, in Western Europe and Eastern Europe the average monthly tariff stood at $111 and $119 (PPP) respectively, with the average bandwidth being 312Mbps in the former and 135Mbps in the latter.

Western Europe was also cheapest in terms of the cost per Mbps. North America was the second cheapest in this category. Compared to Q4 2019, the cost per Mbps has dropped in all regions apart from Eastern Europe and North America.

APPENDIX: Background to the methodology

Introduction

To more directly represent the operator tariffs we collate, we have consolidated the tariff benchmark spreadsheets into a single file.  This is available to subscribers to the Broadband Operators and Tariffs service – click here to access the full file.

A current data set of tariffs can be downloaded from our Broadband Operators and Tariffs service website at any time, and users can conduct their own analysis using this data.

If there is a particular element that you cannot find and you wish to have available please contact us on tariffs@point-topic.com.

Coverage and methodology

The monthly rental prices have been analysed in terms of local currency and equivalent USD costs.

As of Q1 2007, a full set of tariff information is available for download as part of Point Topic’s Broadband Operators and Tariffs Service. The data set contains the most up-to-date tariff information including such details as monthly rental, connection speed, equipment cost and service features. In Q1 2007, Point Topic began providing end of quarter tariff updates from the database, which clients may use for their own historical analysis. These are now incorporated into our benchmark report and are published simultaneously.

Entries within tariff data sets which do not have both a downstream speed and a monthly rental listed have been excluded from this analysis.

The PPP rates used are published annually by the World Bank for a selection of countries and are readily available to the public free of charge. Those PPP rates are published at the beginning of each year are used throughout the year and hence any quarterly changes in PPP rates are not taken into account during the analysis. Some retrospective adjustments to PPP rates were made during the period 2000–2010. All PPP rates during this period were updated accordingly.

Price comparison issues

This analysis is intended as a general indicator of the trends in pricing in major broadband countries. There are several additional variables that complicate the process of making a direct comparison of broadband prices. These need to be taken into account when making a more in-depth analysis:

  • ISP charges: Some operators include ISP charges in their monthly rental, whereas others do not and charge an additional cost. This is evident in the case of Yahoo Japan, where a separate ISP charge is billed to the customer. In instances where this clearly occurs, Point Topic includes the charge in the monthly rental.
  • Bundling: With the continuous competition in service price, ISPs are focusing on bundling value-added services in order to increase revenue. Since Q1 2007, an integrated tariff database file containing bundled services information is available as part of the Broadband Operators and Tariffs service. This allows a comprehensive analysis of bundled services and pricing which we introduced here for the first time in Q1 2007.
  • Tax charges: Sales taxes (such as value-added tax) are also included in the residential monthly rental by most operators, although this is not the case in North America where telecommunications taxes are charged on top of the monthly rental. There would be a slight difference in the rankings if tax costs were included in the quoted monthly rentals of North American operators.
  • Time limits: Many operators worldwide have begun introducing broadband packages that restrict the time spent online without additional charges. For a monthly flat rate, customers can enjoy ‘free’ broadband access at particular times of the day/night, or for a certain number of hours per month. Any time spent beyond that limit is charged at an hourly rate.
  • Download limits: Some operators offer entry level services with data volume limits. In most cases, these limits are generous enough so as not to affect light or medium users. Point Topic includes this type of service as a reasonable entry level service, since it does not involve adding a usage charge to the monthly cost for the typical user.

Get access to the full data

Access to the full version of this report and our latest tariff database featuring more than 5,000 services from over 90 countries are available to subscribers of Point Topic’s Broadband Operators & Tariffs as well as Double Play and Triple Play services. To find out more, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail simona@point-topic.com.