Only a Third of the World's Population Is Online
"For every person online, there are two who are not. By the end of the decade, everyone on Earth will be connected. #NewDigitalAge"
The above statement was tweeted by Google chairman Eric Schmidt on Saturday, April 13. Given Schmidt’s prominence and the boldness of his claim, it naturally sparked a lively discussion as to whether it would be possible (and desirable) for the entire world population to be online by 2020.
Considering the fact that, as of 2012, only a good third of the world’s 7 billion people were online, it seems unlikely that Schmidt’s prediction will come true. What’s more important, millions of those 7 billion people are suffering from malnourishment and lacking access to clean drinking water, so providing them with internet access shouldn’t and probably won’t be a priority in the next few years.
What shouldn’t be forgotten though, is the role that mobile devices could play in connecting people from developing countries. Mobile phones have helped people overcome infrastructural deficits in the past (e.g. a large part of small financial transactions in Africa are carried out via mobile phone), and they could help provide many people with internet access as well.
- Internet penetration in the United Kingdom (UK) 2000-2015Internet penetration in the United Kingdom (UK) 2000-2015
- Asia Pacific: internet penetration 2016, by countryAsia Pacific: internet penetration 2016, by country
- Internet penetration rate worldwide 2017, by regionInternet penetration rate worldwide 2017, by region
- E-commerce turnover in Sweden 2003-2017E-commerce turnover in Sweden 2003-2017
- Google: global annual revenue 2002-2016Google: global annual revenue 2002-2016
- Price of Bitcoin monthly 2014-2017Price of Bitcoin monthly 2014-2017
- Number of monthly active WhatsApp users as of 2013-2017Number of monthly active WhatsApp users as of 2013-2017
- Facebook: number of monthly active users worldwide 2008-2016Facebook: number of monthly active users worldwide 2008-2016
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