A new study by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) (1) reveals that 1.75 billion people in the world's eight richest countries (by GDP) remain unconnected - with 34 % of them living in large urban areas. The report, released today, highlights that the digital divide remains a global problem, despite the fact that developing universal connectivity remains a common priority for all countries.
Ahe new study, undertaken by IHS Markit to mark World Wi-Fi DayThis Tuesday, 20 June, explores levels of urban and rural connectivity in eight major countries: Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. It also discovers the challenges these countries face and the initiatives being implemented by five of the world's largest cities: Delhi, London, Moscow, New York and Sao Paulo.
The main findings of the report reveal that :
- Delhi and Sao Paulo have the largest number of unconnected inhabitants. 29 % (5.331 million) of the population in Delhi are not connected, 36 % in Sao Paulo (4.349 million) are not connected.
- London is the most connected city, knowing that only 7 % of its inhabitants are not connected (625,336)
19 % of New York residents are not connected (1.600 million), while 17 % of Moscow residents are not connected (2.154 million).
Internet adoption has been faster in cities than in rural areas; however, urban areas still face significant challenges to the expansion of Internet users. These challenges include limited purchasing power, lack of availability of technology, lack of awareness of the benefits of Internet use, and also low computer literacy.
In both developing and mature markets, the availability of affordable Internet services remains a barrier to connectivity. Even among countries with higher average wages, the existence of economic and social divides significantly shapes the problem of the digital divide.
- In New York City, one of the biggest barriers to connectivity is the quality and price of Internet connections.
- For Londoners, computer literacy and an understanding of the benefits of being connected, as well as purchasing power, are the key challenges to Internet adoption.
- Moscow faces specific challenges related to infrastructure, developing an integrated approach to promoting Internet adoption and ensuring high standards and quality of Internet services.
The report also highlights the many benefits and opportunities that escape those who are not connected, from generating savings to personal development as a result of lack of access to information and education services. What's more, digital inclusion is a driver of economic growth for cities, nations and businesses of all sizes, helping to attract investment, start new businesses and stimulate innovation.
"Connectivity is now an essential commodity, just like electricity and water. And yet many people in some of the world's largest cities are still without Internet connections. says Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA. "Wi-Fi is playing a key role in helping cities bring greater and more affordable connectivity to their residents. The WBA is committed to helping cities bridge the digital divide through initiatives such as World Wi-Fi Day and our Connected City Advisory Committee, and sees Wi-Fi as the key to enabling everyone to connect everywhere. »
"The problem of people living in unconnected cities is of critical importance to economies and societies around the world. We call on governments around the world to redouble their efforts to connect people in unconnected cities. It is vital that Internet access is recognized as a human right, and that all stakeholders involved in the provision of broadband work together to achieve this, adds Mr. Shenwai.
World Wi-Fi Day was launched by the WBA in 2016 to help accelerate the global roll-out of affordable connectivity. The initiative encourages cities and government agencies, as well as operators, service providers, technology providers and Internet giants to join forces to bring connectivity to everyone, everywhere.
(1) Founded in 2003, the mission of the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) is to accelerate global leadership to promote wireless services that are seamless, secure and interoperable. Building on their legacy of next-generation hotspot (NGH) and carrier-grade Wi-Fi, the WBA has continued to promote and support the adoption of next-generation wireless services across the entire public Wi-Fi ecosystem, including IoT, converged services, smart cities, 5G, and more. Today, members include major fixed-line operators such as BT, Comcast and Charter Communications; seven of the top 10 mobile operator groups (by revenue); and technology leaders such as Cisco, Microsoft, Huawei Technologies, Google and Intel.
WBA Board members include AT&T, Boingo Wireless, BT, China Telecom, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Intel, KT Corporation, Liberty Global, NTT DOCOMO, Orange and Ruckus Wireless.