Global internet approaching 50 percent

May 29, 2017
by Mark Ollig

Would it surprise you to learn more than half of the world’s population has no direct access to the internet?

A recent estimate of the planet’s population is 7.5 billion . . . and growing.

As of March 31, there were 3.7 billion internet users, according to a global statistical study provided by Nielson Online, International Telecommunications Union, and the German global research firm GfK.

For those of you wondering what GfK means, it’s the German abbreviation for: Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung (Society for Consumer Research).

A side note: GfK released its February study of Americans who have “cut the cord” and get their phone, television, and internet social media content wirelessly.

This study reported 68 percent of millennials averaging 34 years of age, are among these “Cordless Americans.”

I do believe it’s inevitable; the future will be one of cordless, wireless consumer electronic devices; although the supportive, physical switching platform running over a fiber-optic network will be around for a long time.

The study reported half of those ages 50 and over, said they will never cut the cord on their television, telephone, or internet services.

Of the 41 percent within this age group who did cut the cord, 9 percent realized they had become “cord-cutting regretters.”

I assume those 9 percenters most likely returned to a physically wired connection for services.

The English website for GfK is http://www.gfk.com/en-us.

Yes, I’m digressing, so let’s get back to today’s main topic.

The global statistical study showed North America, which includes Bermuda, Canada, Greenland, St. Pierre & Miquelon, and the US, with 4.9 percent of the world’s population, and having the highest global internet penetration rate of 88.1 percent.

Citizen’s internet access within the US is 287 million, or 88 percent of the estimated 325 million folks living here.

The North American region with the highest internet usage is Bermuda, with 96.3 percent of its 70,537 citizens being internet users.

For my Canadian readers; 93.2 percent or 33 million of your 35.4 million fellow citizens are internet users.

China, the largest Asian country with 1.4 billion people, more than doubles the number of US internet users with 731.4 million.

India, the second largest-populated Asian country with 1.3 billion citizens, has 462.1 million internet users.

South Korea, with nearly 51 million people, has 45.3 million internet users, while their northerly neighboring country;,North Korea, with a population estimated at 25.4 million citizens, shows only 14,000 having internet access.

The Asian country with the largest percentage of its population using the internet is Japan.

Of the 126 million residents of Japan, 118.4 million are internet users, which is 94 percent of the country’s population.

The countries making up Asia have a combined population of 4.1 billion, and have approximately 2 billion internet users.

Europe, with 822.7 million people, has nearly 637 million or 77.4 percent of its population using the internet.

Internet World Stats (IWS) website’s numbers for Cuba from June 30, 2016 shows 33.6 percent of their 11 million citizens, approximately 3.7 million, having internet access. This number is expected to increase as Cuba strengthens its ties with the US, and provides improved internet connectivity and availability to its people.

IWS also reported the languages most used by internet users.

English is used by 952.1 million people, 763.3 million use Chinese, 293.8 million use Spanish, and 173.5 million uses Arabic.

As of March 25, the global internet user saturation rate stood at 49.6 percent of the world’s population.

Folks, we’re practically halfway to a globally-connected internet.

Let’s not stop now.

Eventually, everyone living on this planet will benefit by using the internet in one way or another to improve their lives, whether it’s through education or their work.

Additionally, much of this planet’s transportation, robotics, drones, artificial intelligence processors, smartdevices, sensors, and other gadgets yet-to-come, will ultimately be linked and networked via the internet grid.

An inter-planetary internet system will someday network future robotic and human-populated bases on the moon, Mars, and beyond – so stay tuned for that.

Be sure to follow your Bits & Bytes columnist on Twitter at @bitsandbytes.

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