The Cost of Bandwidth in Africa

By Deane Barker on May 18, 2006

Official: Africans pay $1,800 for 1GB of data: You’d think they could get data out faster via satellite.

[…] the infrastructure-strapped continent spends millions of dollars every year to route data and voice traffic from one African country to another through Europe or North America, Kagwe said.

“The only undersea fiber optic cable to connect several African countries and the rest of the world … remains the most expensive in the world and contributes to the high costs of bandwidth in Africa,” Kagwe told participants at the Africa Information and Communication Technology conference.



  1. I’m sorry, but that article’s been poorly researched. Expensive? Yes, definitely. $1800 per GB? I don’t think so. Not in South Africa, anyway (where I’m from).

    I’m on 384/128 ADSL. I have an account that gives me 3GB internationally (which is the benchmark for most accounts) and then 27GBs locally (yes, they limit our local usage as well – can’t imagine why).

    I pay, per month: -R350 for ADSL rental. (About $58) -R90 for Line rental, yes we get charged twice. :/ (About $15) -R350 for my 5GB int / 27GB local account. (Another $58) Total of R790/month (Plus minus $131)…

    So, say we only take the ISP fee into account, and look at an ISP that offers only 3GB local. The cheapest is R195 ($32). Or about R65 per GB. That’s $11 per GB. Nowhere near $1800. :)

    You can get an idea of the state of SA telecoms at

    I’m not sure what the situation is in the rest of Africa, and even though the situation SA isn’t as bleak as the article describes, we’re still paying waaaay too much.

    Sorry for the long comment. ;)

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