although the Internet access has been growing in recent years in Brazil, millions of people are still unable to use the world wide web. According to the 2021 Continuous National Household Sample Survey, about 7.28 million households had no internet connection at home in 2021.
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The data collected by the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) show that there is still a difficulty in guaranteeing this very important right to Brazilians. Last year, 3.6 million students and 28.2 million people over the age of 10 were unable to use the internet.
About 20% of the group say they don’t have access for financial reasons, while 14% say the packages are expensive. Another 6.2% report that what prevents the connection is the high price of the necessary electronic equipment.
Brazil has an internet six times more expensive than the United States, according to a survey by cybersecurity company Surfshark. The South American nation is in 81st place among 117 countries in the ranking that measures the cost of broadband.
To hire the cheapest internet plan in the country, a citizen who earns a minimum wage per month needs to work, on average, 6h40. In the US, the time required is just 57 minutes.
Can free internet become reality?
Seeking to democratize access, the federal government created the Internet for All program, which aims to offer broadband connections at reduced prices. However, there is no initiative aimed at guaranteeing free access.
For experts, it is difficult to imagine the implementation of free internet across the country. “I don’t think anywhere in the world has free internet for the general population”, says the vice president of the Brazilian Internet Association (Abranet), Eduardo Fumes Parajo.
“The cost of the internet is quite high and it is difficult to provide it for free to the general population. Someone will have to pay the bill, be it the government, the state, or the municipality, the bill still exists at the end of the day”, he adds.
According to him, companies can even offer free connection in some places, but the benefit will always be linked to an expectation of return, as in a marketing action. “As you don’t have free water and free electricity, you won’t have free internet either”, he adds.
For Batistella, everything is geared towards making the connection become a commodity. “The internet connection will become a commodity, becoming just a path for the other information that travels through it”, he concludes.