Disconnected: More Than Half the World’s Population is Still Offline

Odds are, you’ve been looking at the internet (in one way or another) basically since you woke up this morning.

And you probably did it all without giving it much thought.

But you should probably consider yourself lucky – more than half of the world doesn’t have the luxury of available Internet.

The United Nations Broadband Commission’s most recent findings about the global state of Internet connectivity, which were released Monday, revealed that more than half of the world’s population. Some 57 per cent – or more than 4 billion people – don’t use the Internet actively or regularly.

And it isn’t because they don’t want to.

The findings revealed a few interesting factors of influence. For starters, only 5 per cent of the world’s 7,100 languages are represented on the Internet. In the developing world, 25 per cent fewer women have Internet access than men. In parts of sub-Saharan Africa, that figure jumps to 50 per cent. In the world’s poorest 48 countries, 90 per cent of the population is offline.

Meanwhile, in the US, only 15 per cent of Americans don’t use the Internet, according to a Pew Study that was released in June (compared to 48 per cent in 2000).

The good news is that about 300 million people gained Internet access in the past year. The bad? It’s doubtful that the United Nations will meet its goal of having 60 per cent of the world connected by 2020. But, we can hope.

If Elon Musk’s plan to launch a constellation of 4,000 satellites into orbit, which would be capable of broadcasting internet to the most remote regions of our planet is approved by the Federal Communications Commission, tests could begin within five years.

And that could be a really good thing for a lot more people.