Friday, December 9, 2022
Published 3 Years Ago on Tuesday, Feb 25 2020 By Inside Telecom Staff
Connectivity is a necessity when talking with friends and family, learning new things, launching a business and finding employment. Despite this, there are still approximately 3.8 billion people around the world who do not have access to faster or reliable internet. Facebook connectivity is now working with network operators, manufacturers and other partners in order to develop technologies and introduces new initiatives that will change that.
For the previous 3 years,
Facebook has commissioned the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to develop a
thorough inclusive internet index (3is) that assesses a specific
country’s internet inclusion across 4 key categories: availability, affordability, relevance and readiness.
This year, the Index was
expanded to include 100 countries, representing 94% of the world’s population
and 96% of global GDP. Furthermore, the 3i study accompanied by a Value of the
Internet Survey, which polled 5,069 respondents from 99 countries to measure
perceptions on how internet use effects people’s livelihood.
Much the same as last year’s index, which concluded that there
was some cause for optimism, we are still very far away from attaining full
internet inclusivity – as this year’s 3i study also shows mixed results.
This year’s study shows that limited
progress has been made in closing the digital divide. In contrast to previous
years, the gap between low-income countries and high-income countries have
widened. Despite this, the overall gap between those with access to the
internet and those without, narrowed – this is a result of progress on access,
quality of coverage, and affordability – the low-income countries have fallen
behind as they have progressed at a slower rate than other countries, much
slower than last year. Internet connections in low-income countries increased
by only 0.8% compared to 65.1% last year.
This slow rate of progress may
well be a blip in the grand scheme of things. If it is the start of a trend,
then that would be an alarming change that would demand a greater focus on the
part of all major players – including the private sector and policy makers.
Whatever the case, this emphasizes the importance of projects such as Facebook
connectivity, to partner with all aspects of the technology and cellular ecosystem
– with the intention of increasing availability and affordable internet.
On a happier note, this year’s
3i did find that inclusion for women and those with disabilities has improved,
with low-income countries driving the progress. Despite this, affordability is
declining in relation to people’s monthly income in many countries. This is affecting
mainly women and people in low-income countries, all of whom, depend on mobile
as their main way of accessing the internet.
This year’s index and survey
survey found that use of the internet had overwhelmingly positive benefits –
particularly for improving livelihoods. The implications of the low-income
countries falling behind, with regards to connectivity are very troubling. This
lack of quality connection, will further limit the ability of low and lower
middle-income countries to improve their economies, in relation to their
the digital divide and promoting internet inclusion will demand collaboration
between governments, the private sector, academics, technologists and civil
society. Governments are also important and can help on the supply side by
implementing policies that enable new technologies, new business models and
investment in high-quality networks; and on the demand side, by facilitating
affordability and helping foster e-Gov, public health and education
With enabling policies in place,
the private sector can continue to extend internet infrastructure and explore
new technologies and applications that drive demand and give more people access
to the benefits of the internet.
No single stakeholder or group
can achieve internet inclusion alone. It is critical that we all work together
and leverage our strengths and expertise to achieve our goal of bringing more
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