An estimated 3.2 billion people throughout the world were online at the end of 2015, up from 3 billion at the end of 2014, according to the newly released State of Connectivity 2015: A Report on Global Internet Access from Facebook.
Facebook pointed out in a Newsroom post that even though the number of people with connectivity has increased by some 200 million to 300 million every year for the past 10 years, 4.1 billion people, or 43 percent of the global population, were still without Internet access at the end of 2015.
The social network said the four key barriers to Internet access are:
- Availability: Proximity of the necessary infrastructure required for access.
- Affordability: The cost of access relative to income.
- Relevance: A reason for access, such as primary language content.
- Readiness: The capacity to access, including skills, awareness and cultural acceptance.
Key findings by Facebook included:
- Lower data costs and rising global incomes led to 500 million more people being able to afford mobile data packages of 500 megabytes per month in 2014.
- A total of 1.6 billion people lived outside of mobile broadband coverage at the end of 2015, down from 2 billion at the end of the previous year.
- Most people connect to the Internet via mobile devices, but some 2.7 billion people worldwide did not have mobile phone subscriptions at the end of 2015.
As one example, Facebook is collaborating with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University to produce detailed maps showing the population distribution of 20 countries. These maps were created using new machine learning techniques and show the most accurate estimates of population distribution and settlements available to date.
Readers: What are your thoughts on Facebook’s findings in State of Connectivity 2015: A Report on Global Internet Access?