The Cost of Connectivity 2020

Chao, Becky; Park, Claire

This report points out that consumers in the United States pay more on average for monthly internet service than consumers abroad—especially for higher speed tiers. This year’s report examines 760 plans in 28 cities across Asia, Europe, and North America, with an emphasis on the United States. The latest research on internet affordability is especially timely as millions of people have moved to online classrooms, telework, and telehealth during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Access to the internet is far from equal, and the digital divide disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and low-income households. The authors claim that the cost is one of the biggest barriers to internet adoption, and it is likely to become an even bigger barrier as jobs and incomes are lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.