A recent study has revealed more than half of the world’s urban population do not have a broadband or internet connection and remain digitally unconnected with the world. Interestingly, 37% of these unconnected population live in the wealthiest cities of the world.
This study was commissioned by Wireless Broadband Alliance to mark World Wi-Fi day on June 20, and was executed by Maravedis Rethink Research.
The global report has found the number of urban unconnected is highest in the Middle East and Asia Pacific regions. Yet connectivity still remains a key issue in Europe and North America. The lack of urban connectivity, the report, attributed to a number technological and political challenges, from low levels of income to the high cost of fixed and mobile services.
As per the study Europe has the lowest percentage of urban unconnected at 17%, the Middle East and Africa has the highest proportion of urban unconnected citizens at 82%. In terms of cities, London is the most connected major global city (only 8% unconnected), while Lagos is the least connected city (88.3%).
The report also reveals that despite having world’s highest average monthly income, 23% people in North America are digitally unconnected or have no broadband connection. In Los Angeles, close to 25% of citizens lack a broadband connection.
“There is a clear divide between the digital haves and the digital have-nots. And while this divide generally mirrors socioeconomic trends around the world, there are surprisingly high levels of urban unconnected citizens in major cities,” said Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance.
“World Wi-Fi Day is an opportunity to recognize the contributions being made to help connect the unconnected around the globe, whether they be in major cities or rural communities. We are therefore calling on cities, governments, operators and technology companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, to come together today to help deliver affordable, sustainable connectivity for everyone, everywhere,” he added.
The Wireless Broadband Alliance has launched World Wi-Fi Day to promote the benefits of Wi-Fi and champion the exciting solutions being offered to the public to help bridge the digital divide. In support of World Wi-Fi Day, over 80 organizations will be running a number of initiatives offering free Wi-Fi access to people across the world.