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How Many People Have Access To The Internet Around The World?

Wondering just how many people have access to the internet? This infographic provides a breakdown by country and continent!

By Cheenee Jean RonquilloPublished 6 months ago 5 min read
Image Source: Pixabay

The internet has become a crucial part of our daily lives. Can you even imagine a world without Google, Facebook, or YouTube? Who knows how we'd find out anything! But have you ever wondered how many people actually have access to the internet around the world? The figures and statistics may surprise you! So, let's take a closer look at the current state of internet accessibility and usage.

As of 2023, there were approximately 5.3 billion active internet users across the globe. This means 63% of the global population. This percentage is a figure that has been steadily increasing over the years. With more than half of the world's population connected to the internet, this number will continue growing!

Which continent has the most internet users?

When it comes to internet usage, Asia is not only the largest continent and the continent with the largest population, but, as you might have guessed, it also has the most active internet users, accounting for more than 2.5 billion people.

Europe comes in second place with over 750 million users, followed by North America with 311 million users. Africa has the lowest number of internet users, with just over 500 million people connected to the internet, which is around 40% of the continent's population.

What is the digital divide?

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to internet accessibility is the digital divide. The digital divide is the unequal distribution of technology and internet access between different regions and social groups. Yes, internet access is still limited in many parts of the world today, and people face numerous obstacles when trying to get online.

What is the internet like in developed countries?

In developed countries like Australia, the majority of the population has access to high-speed internet. The rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) means that there is internet coverage for over 95% of Australian households. However, getting online is still challenging for many rural and remote areas due to the need for more infrastructure and the high cost of logging on and getting hooked up.

And what about developing countries?

In developing countries, getting online is even more difficult. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), more than half of the planet still cannot access the internet. As mentioned earlier, this is particularly true in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 23% of the population is connected to the internet. Africa's low connection rate is no surprise when you think of how pricey it is to get online here. Moreover, when you do get online in Africa, there is sparse content available in local African languages. Thus, only some people develop internet skills because what’s the point?

What’s so bad about the digital divide?

The lack of internet access that the digital divide creates significantly negatively impacts education, healthcare, and economic development. Poor access to the internet means people are cut off from many essential resources and opportunities. For example, online education has become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has made it much more apparent that students and children with limited or slow internet access are at a higher disadvantage than those with good access to online resources.

What are we doing about the Digital Divide?

To solve the digital divide, governments and private organisations around the world are working on expanding internet access and infrastructure. For example, one of the United Nations' Global Goals is to get the entire world's population online by 2030. Many countries are working towards this goal through their own various plans. Will we make it?

Digital India

One example of a very successful plan is Digital India. Digital India is a campaign India's government produced in 2015 intending to provide high-speed internet to every person. And it's working - due to this initiative, internet usage in India has increased significantly, with over 700 million people now connected to the internet!

The National Broadband Plan

Another good attempt at addressing the Digital Divide is Australia’s NBN plan. The government has produced the National Broadband Network (NBN) in Australia. This project aims to provide high-speed internet access to every Australian household. The NBN has undoubtedly faced some challenges, but it is flourishing - it has now managed to connect the majority of Australian homes to the internet.

Projects Loon and Aquila

In addition to government initiatives, many private organisations are also coming up with ways to expand internet access. For example, you may have heard of Google's Project Loon. It’s no April fool’s joke - Project Loon aims to provide internet access to remote and rural areas using high-altitude Wi-Fi balloons. Then there’s Facebook's Aquila project. This project involves solar-powered drones that offer internet access to remote locations.

Despite the challenges of the digital divide, there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of internet accessibility. As technology continues to improve, connecting to the internet is becoming more accessible and more affordable. On top of these technological advances, ideas like the UN's goal to connect the entire world to the internet by 2030 and government-led initiatives are bringing internet access to more people daily!

Why is there so much growth?

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted internet connectivity's importance for work and education. With way more people working and studying from home, internet access demand has skyrocketed! So, it's not surprising that governments and private organisations are now responding to this demand by investing in infrastructure and expanding coverage.

Going mobile

Another thing driving internet usage is the increasing availability of inexpensive mobile devices. Small, portable devices that you can use anywhere in the world, more and more of the world's population can access the internet on a mobile device as their price keeps decreasing.

This growth in mobile internet usage is tremendous in developing countries - mobile devices are often the primary way people access the internet here. Mobile internet transforms the lives of people in these countries by providing access to education, healthcare, and other invaluable online resources.

More online shopping

Another trend shaping the future of internet usage is the increasing importance of e-commerce. Perhaps due to to the pandemic, as more people try out the convenience and variety of shopping online, internet usage is expected to continue to grow.

This growth in e-commerce is being driven by the high availability of online shopping platforms, and the growing number of consumers who prefer to shop online. But, again, this may be due to the limited physical shopping availability the pandemic brought. As more people use e-commerce platforms, general internet usage will likely continue.

In conclusion, the amount of the population with access to the internet worldwide keeps increasing steadily year on year, and there are many reasons to be optimistic about the future of internet accessibility. While the digital divide remains a challenge to tackle, governments and private organisations are working on expanding internet access to more people than ever before.


About the Creator

Cheenee Jean Ronquillo

A keen lover of games and loves writing. Also enjoys traveling around Asia and has been to many countries.

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