Fixed broadband tariffs in Q4 2017

Broadband tariff benchmarks for residential and business broadband services

We compared broadband tariffs across different technologies in Q4 2017, looking at price and speed variations in various parts of the world.

Global broadband tariffs and bandwidths

We have compared the average subscription charges and corresponding bandwidths for different broadband technologies across the world. All prices are quoted in US dollars at PPP (purchasing power parity) rates to allow easier comparison.

Residential broadband packages

In Q4 2017, the average monthly charge for residential broadband services was $114, nearly unchanged from $112 in Q3 2017. Compared to Q3 2017, it has gone up by 9% for cable but remained the same for copper and fibre.

The average bandwidth provided to residential subscribers grew by 7% compared to Q3 2017. The boost was caused by the continued increase in bandwidth provided over fibre networks. This quarter, the average download speeds over copper and cable infrastructure went down while fibre saw a substantial increase by 6% since Q3 2017.

The speeds over fibre and to some extent cable platforms are expected to continue to climb, as Gigabit capable direct fibre networks, and Docsis 3.1 rollouts start accelerating.  (For more details on the next generation network upgrades and broadband take-up by technologies see operator profiles which are part of our Broadband Operators and Tariffs service and Global Broadband Statistics).

Average cost and download speed graph for residential bundle and standalone services
In Q4 2017, the average cost per Mbps has increased for copper and cable based broadband packages but went down for fibre connections which saw an average bandwidth boost without the average cost increase. The average ‘global’ cost per Mbps (for all three technologies combined) was $0.78 at the end of Q4 2017, compared to $0.82 recorded at the end of Q3 2017 (down 5%).

Business broadband packages

In Q4 2017, the average monthly charge for standalone business broadband services decreased by $1 to $213 compared to the previous quarter. At the same time, the average bandwidth went up 12 per cent compared to Q3 2017 and stood at 122Mbps. This boost was caused by significantly higher average download speeds offered over cable and fibre-based networks this quarter. In the case of cable, in Q4 2017 the average bandwidth has gone up by 13% compared to Q3 2017 (+2.5% between Q2 2017 and Q3 2017). For fibre connections, the average download speed has increased by 10% (+1.7% between Q2 2017 and Q3 2017). As can be expected, copper connection speed dropped from 13Mbps in Q3 2017 to 10Mbps this quarter.

In Q4 2017, the average monthly cost decreased by 5% for copper and by 3% for fibre technologies whereas the average cost of cable broadband packages went up by 1% compared to Q3 2017.

average cost and download speeds for bundled and standalone business services, Q4 2017

At the end of Q4 2017, the average global cost per Mbps for business broadband packages went down by 11% and stood at $1.75. The decrease in average cost of bandwidth provided over cable and fibre networks has contributed to the overall drop in the average cost per Mbps.

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

Asia-Pacific retained its dominant position in terms of bandwidth as the operators in the region continue to push FTTP services. In Q4 2017, the average bandwidth in this region was 391Mbps. Western Europe followed with 213Mbps as the rollouts of VDSL, and FTTP continued. The region saw its average bandwidth go up from 190Mbps in Q3 2017. In terms of average monthly broadband tariff, Western Europe offered the best value for money this quarter, having overtaken Eastern Europe.

In Q4 2017, North America saw its average bandwidth go up further by 4.5% compared to the previous quarter as Canadian and US operators offered more and faster FTTP and cable broadband packages. Latin America also saw the average download speeds increase by 7% q-o-q. Countries of Middle East and Africa continued to be the most expensive markets, not least due to the lack of competition in the fixed broadband markets and the domination of mobile technologies.

Residential tariff benchmarks bubble chart Q4 2017
Business broadband packages

The lowest priced business tariffs were offered in Europe and North America. While being the most expensive market, Asia-Pacific also offered the highest average speeds at 442Mbps and the second lowest average cost per Mbps of bandwidth at $0.96 PPP. Only Western Europe had a lower average cost per Mbps at $0.76 PPP.

Country ranking

In this section, we look at the average monthly tariff for residential broadband services across the world. The average tariffs include copper, cable and fibre broadband services, and cover both standalone and bundled services.

All tariffs are quoted in international US dollars at PPP rates to allow comparisons between countries.

This isn’t the end of the story when it comes to making a comparison. Different approaches could be applied.  You may want to include bundles in cross country comparisons, though it is not easy to quantify the value of one TV channel versus another, for example.  You could look at a range of services on offer or select a single entry level tariff from the most popular supplier. As ever the answer is to pick whatever best suits your needs.

Entry level, median or average?

We are using the three most common comparison aggregations:

  • The entry level tariff – typically ignores variations in bandwidth caps, time charging, actual bandwidth offered and overall availability of a tariff in the market. Best used to indicate the conditions at the low end of the market and best comparator if you’re looking at the market penetration for broadband overall or a particular technology.
  • The median tariff – the value in the middle of the count of all values in the set. Can be skewed by unbalanced reporting or data gathering.  Useful as a general indication of the country market and for inter market comparisons.
  • The average tariff – doesn’t represent an amount anyone actually pays, skewed by extremes in price. The best single number for comparing whole country markets when you want to understand the range of options for the consumer.

There is a difference in the relative country performance depending on which metric is used and the variation can be significant.

Here we show the price and country ranking for the metrics explained above for residential services. All prices expressed as international US$ (PPP rates).

Entry level, average and median tariffs Q4 2017

The above chart shows the range from the entry level service through the median up to the average value of all the residential tariffs in the market. This highlights some of the issues we have outlined above.

The spreads in Japan, Germany, Korea and Russia for example seem to indicate that it is relatively straightforward to get more bandwidth, at least in terms of cost. However perhaps that means that those on entry level tariffs are subsidising those on higher level tariffs. In India, Turkey, Brazil, China and the United States the differences in price levels of various speeds are much more pronounced, not least due to the limited supply of alternative technologies especially in rural areas.

Highest 10 Median broadband tariffs chart

If we look at the most expensive markets in terms of median tariffs we also see some variation in entry level and average ones. Upgrading to higher level tariffs is still especially expensive in UAE, Qatar, Bolivia and Bahrain.

Get access to the full data

Access to the full version of the 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 service. To find out more, please telephone +44 (0)20 3301 3303 or e-mail [email protected].