57% of global urban population are unconnected: A Study

A whopping 57% of the global urban population remain unconnected. Among these people, 37% reside in the world’s wealthiest countries, reveals a study commissioned by the Wireless Broadband Alliance. The study was conducted as a part of the inaugural World Wi-Fi Day (today).

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Considering the demographics, Europe has only 17% of unconnected urban, the lowest among the rest. The Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region report the highest in the same at 82%. In terms of cities, London has only 8% of the unconnected population and hence becomes the most connected global city. Lagos is the least at 88.3%.

In North America, 23% of the people has no broadband connection. In Los Angeles, 24.9% of citizens lack a broadband connection. Similarly, 68% of people in Asia Pacific have no broadband connection. 55% of people in Latin America live without broadband.

Besides the income factor, age, computer literacy, and access to computers are the parameters that determine broadband adoption among the public, the study said.

Commenting on the research and the launch of World Wi-Fi Day, Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance said, “There is a clear divide between the digital haves and the digital have-nots. While this divide generally mirrors socioeconomic trends around the world, there are surprisingly high levels of urban unconnected citizens in major cities.”

“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,” Shenwai said.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance has launched World Wi-Fi Day as a means to promote the benefits of Wi-Fi as well as to bridge the existing digital divide across the world. In support of World Wi-Fi Day, 80+ organizations will be running a number of initiatives offering free Wi-Fi access to people across the world. AlwaysOn (South Africa), BT (UK), Cosmote (Greece), CSL (Hong Kong), Fon (several countries), DoCoMo (Japan), KPN (the Netherlands), Proximus (Belgium), Romania Telekom and Telstra (Australia) are some of the organizations.

Another attractive initiative launched as a part of the World Wi-Fi Day is a City Wi-Fi Roaming initiative. Under this initiative, the consumers will be allowed to automatically roam, throughout July and August, between public Wi-Fi networks of major cities including New York, San Francisco, San Jose and Singapore.

The World Wi-Fi Day is also supported by the Connected City Advisory Board (CCAB). “Affordable and sustainable broadband connectivity within cities is an absolute must. Not only is it helping citizens today, but connectivity will be the key to transforming and improving the development of cities around the world in years to come,” said Reza Jafari, Chairman, and CEO of the CCAB. CCAB assists in the development and execution of Connected City Plans.

The research was undertaken by Maravedis Rethink Research for the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

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