Connectingthe Entire World to the InternetBy:Jeremy Taylor – IS 8600 Introduction Accordingto an article inside the World Economic Forum, there were more than 3.
2 billionpeople connected online and using the internet in 2015 (Armbrecht, 2016). Eventhough this number increased significantly from the previous year it stillmeant that over 4.1 billion of the world’s population still needed to beconnected to the internet. With only 43 percent of the global population whoare mostly in developed countries connected to the internet this raises thequestion on how the entire world will ever be online period or by 2020 whichwas predicted by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt (Gross, 2013). By connecting theentire world to the internet, it can significantly change the way the worlddoes business, increase wealth, and affect how businesses sustain and make resourcesmore efficient. That sounds great, but the real question is: what is delayingthe entire world from being connected to the internet?Background An”internet user” is any person that has access to internet at home with any typeof connection or device. In 1995, less than 1 percent of the world’s populationwas connected to the internet (“Internet users,” 2016).
This figure is now over3.8 billion users in 2017 (“Internet usage statistics,” 2017). Surprisingly, inthe United States there are still over 50 million people who are not connectedto the internet, but many of the individuals who are not connected in the U.S.choose to be offline by their own choice (Wilks-Harper, 2017). According to The World Bank (2017), Niger isone of the poorest countries in the world ranking second to last out of 188countries. Less than 3% of their entire population is connected to the internet(“Here are Africa’s,” 2017). Ironically, Niger has one of the highestpopulation growth rates in the world at 3.
9 percent annually which will onlymake this number continue to decrease and in return increase the digital dividein their country. However, there still is a chance that this number can move ina positive direction if Africa chooses to start adopting the usage ofsmartphones which will result in more citizens in poorer nations such as Nigerhaving internet access. Walker (2014) stated over96 percent of households in Qatar were connected to the internet which placedthem second among 132 developing countries with the highest percentage ofhouseholds only behind Korea at 98.1 percent being connected to the internet. Thesetwo non-US countries even had the US beat, who themselves have over 80 percentof their population being connected to the internet (“Internet users,” 2016). Thiscomparison between maybe the poorest country in the world Niger and Qatar oneof the richest countries in the world shows the significance of the internetconnection gap between the richest and poorest countries in the world. Byaddressing this gap in the United States, it could lead to internet accessbeing more affordable across the globe (Ferdman, 2014). Ferdman(2014) points out statistics show over 64 percent of the world’s populationthat is not connected to the internet live in rural areas where infrastructure,education, health care, and employment are all low which places a loweremphasis on the adoption of internet.
Also, over 900 million of users acrossthe globe who are not connected to the internet are illiterate (Ferdman, 2014).These instances and circumstances indicate that most people who aren’tconnected to the internet live mostly in developing countries (Luxton, 2016). Penard,Poussing, Mukoko, and Tamokwe Piaptie (2015) state that internet usage is directlyinfluenced by age and gender in certain parts of the globe. However, Luxton (2016)states the four biggest reasons people are offline not connected to theinternet are due to infrastructure, affordability, skills, and relevance.
Yet,these challenges can be overcome and solutions are already taking place whichwill allow countries to stop missing out on life changing benefits of beingconnected to the internet. (Luxton, 2016).AnalysisEventually, the entireglobe will be able to be connected to the internet but only if it canunderstand the four barriers that are currently holding the InternationalTelecommunication Union (ITU) back from achieving 100 percent internetconnectivity across the globe. The first barrierinfrastructure deals with the ability for people to be able to connectwirelessly, wired, or by satellite. Korea happens to be number one in terms of wirelessbroadband subscriber ratio with 99.3 out of 100 of their inhabitants being subscribed(Shin, 2014).
Even though there are several ways to gain connectivity to theinternet, many countries have limited coverage to connect to the internet(Armbrecht, 2016). For lower income countries, they will need to depend onmobile connections which over 96% of the world has access to (Armbrecht, 2016).Another solution which can aid in the entire world being connected to theinternet is by service providers investing in better infrastructures to offerto these lower income countries at lower prices which is not likely due to thereturn that will probably not be high along with the increased maintenancecosts they will incur for keeping rural network architecture in good condition.There will need to be another alternative to this barrier because it also coststwo to three times more in rural areas to create remote connections than itdoes in urban areas (Armbrecht, 2016). Affordability is anothermajor barrier that is causing the delay of all countries being connected to theinternet. The cost of cellular devices, data, and maintaining them are high anddiscourage people from having them especially for people across the globe wholive underneath the poverty line and have a low income. Three solutions to thisbarrier have included the improvement of technology, improvements in globalincome, and innovative pricing business models. For example, in the Philippinesservice providers are packaging mobile data in ways that even the poorestpeople can afford it by allowing individuals to pay for data daily at $1.
11 forunlimited, $0.44 cents for 100MB, and $0.22 cents for 6MB of data (Armbrecht,2016).Skills such as languagebarriers and awareness have also proven to be a road block to enabling theworld to all be connected to the internet. Unfortunately, 89 percent of theinternet is made up of just 10 languages with 56 percent of it in English(Armbrecht, 2016). This number is alarming because people in developingcountries will not have any use to get on the internet if they can’t understandthe language it is in.
Therefore, to combat this issue content creation is nowbeing used through the support of local languages and software devices. Thismethod would make more people want to use the internet because not only wouldcontent relate to them, but they would now be able to understand it. Also, forpeople to comprehend the content online, education will need to be taken moreseriously in the US and across the globe when it comes to literacy.
Conclusion Acrossthe world the use of the internet is becoming imperative. In higher incomecountries and lower income countries the need for the internet is equally as importantbecause with better access to knowledge and information, wealth will increase. However,lower income countries will have different solutions than higher incomecountries when facing the four barriers: infrastructure, affordability, skills,and relevance.
For example, the US will have literacy programs for children in theirschools. In the poor country of Papua New Guinea, they have come up with theSMS Story initiative that will teach their people to read by reading textmessages. Togive the world a chance to all be connected to the internet and for theInternational Telecommunication Union to achieve this goal of having the worldconnected by 2020, it will need the efforts and solutions from all thegovernments across the globe, non-profit organizations, private industries, andinitiatives led by citizens. However, if all sides and parties do not cometogether there will be a delay. With the entire world being connected to theinternet, there will be endless opportunities for everyone involved just asthere already are for those who have access to the internet.