eMarketer revealed that by 2018, 3.6 billion people will be connected to the internet. In 2013, the earth’s population was over 7.1 billion people.
Monica Peart, the senior forecasting analyst at eMarketer, outlined a few forces driving the rise of Internet access.
“Inexpensive mobile phones and mobile broadband connections are driving internet access and usage in countries where fixed internet has been out of reach for consumers, whether that’s due to lack of infrastructure or affordability.”
Mozilla unveiled their low-cost Firefox phones earlier this year, making Peart’s claim seem correct. For only $33, residents of India can buy a smartphone and connect to the Internet. For digital currency adoption to thrive, the technology has to be put in place and reasonably affordable.
One of the biggest issues in the rise of Internet usage is pure accessibility. Many parts of the world still live in rural areas, making connecting to the developed internet infrastructure most people see today a dream that looks far off. Peart also touched on the struggles of rural areas.
“While highly developed nations are nearly saturated in terms of internet users, there’s significant room for growth in emerging markets. For example, India and Indonesia will each see double-digit growth in each year between now and 2018.”
Places like India are set to overtake the United States as the second-largest Internet market I the world, just behind China. While much of the internet access comes from urban areas, there is a minor breakthrough in rural areas. Unfortunately, 70 percent of India’s popular lives in a rural living situation.
Two companies are competing for Internet browser reputation, and each takes into consideration new prospects all over the world. While Mozilla showed off their Firefox phone, Google took to the skies with their “Project Loon” to bring WiFi to developed nations.
Google utilized balloons to try and bring internet access to areas in need, and saw success. After initial testing, the Google balloons can deliver speeds up to 22 megabits per second. To put the number into perspective, Comcast can offer 505 megabits per second at their highest.
The Project Loon numbers may be small, but they show that there are opportunities in the world that aren’t so far out of reach.
When the internet advances, so does the penetration position of bitcoin and other digital currencies. Even though Net Neutrality has a long hard road ahead of itself in the United States, the developing world could be a beacon of hope for bitcoin still to come. When half of the world, most of which under-banked, has access to the Internet and bitcoin/digital currency, the world may very well see a shift in the existing financial structure.
What do you think of the prospect of Internet access for everyone, everywhere? Comment below!
Images from Google and Shutterstock.