Surfing the web keeps getting cheaper in OECD countries, and the good news for real Internet fans is that the price falls are steepest when it comes to services offering unlimited access for a flat fee. The average price for off-peak Internet access based on 40 hours’ use a month fell 27% between October 1999 and September this year, thanks to the spread of unmetered access.
By September, unmetered access was available in 10 OECD countries, double the number at the beginning of the year and including Hungary, Korea and Spain. Prices for metered access also fell sharply, with the average price for 20 hours off-peak use per month dropping 20% in the year to September. This was partly thanks to the spread of subscription-free Internet access, where there is no fee to the Internet service provider beyond the cost of the phone call. This practice has now been introduced in Finland and Portugal. Korean websurfers pay least for 20 hours’ access per month at off-peak times, but their US counterparts do better when it comes to peak time use.
©OECD Observer No 223, October 2000