how many people don t have internet

Almost 2.6 million Australians, according to these ABS figures, do not use the internet. Nearly 1.3 million households are not connected. especially the poor, rural, elderly, and handicapped portion of the population who do not have access to computers or the internet; and the wealthy. A new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 30 percent of respondents didn't have a broadband connection at home. how many people don t have internet

How many people don t have internet -

America’s Terrible Internet Is Making Quarantine Worse

At 8 a.m. Pacific time last Wednesday, I joined David Anderson’s 12th-grade government class at Live Oak High by clicking on a Zoom link.

Because California suffered a surge in coronavirus cases this summer, students in Live Oak, a town about 50 miles north of Sacramento, will be learning virtually for the foreseeable future. Both Anderson and his students seemed nervous about how it would go. At 8:03, only eight of the 24 students had logged on, despite the fact that Anderson’s “classroom expectations” sheet requested that everyone “log in to class on time and prepared every day.”

It might not have been the kids’ fault. Many students are poor in this rural chunk of the Sacramento Valley. The school ordered Wi-Fi hotspots for the students, but they won’t be available until August 22. In a class Anderson taught that afternoon, one boy’s video kept freezing from a slow connection. At the high point during the class I observed, 20 of 24 students had joined the Zoom session, which, Anderson told me later, is “better than expected.”

Not all distance learning in rural areas is functioning even this smoothly, thanks to America’s notoriously unequal internet access. In the COVID-19 era, life has moved to the internet, but not everyone has it. As many districts start virtually this fall, some teachers say they’re fighting to ensure that all of their students can log into class each day. Their struggles are just one example of the consequences of America’s failure to get all of its citizens online before this uniquely internet-dependent time.

Adrienne LaFrance: ‘This push to open schools is guaranteed to fail’

Outside of Fresno, Rachel Cooper estimates that 20 percent of her eighth-grade students don’t have internet at home, and 20 percent have spotty internet. “It’s rough,” she says. Some kids are using their phones to log into class, but the screens are too small to do work on. Some kids’ internet cuts out in the middle of class, and others don’t log on at all.

The school hasn’t been able to provide hotspots to all of its students yet, Cooper says. A Wi-Fi–equipped bus is supposed to drive around to areas where disconnected students live, but social distancing would require that students sit outside of it to do their work. “I’ve had several students already say that they were really nervous they were going to fall farther behind in a specific subject because they think distance learning is going to be really difficult,” Cooper told me.

How did such an advanced country leave so many people technologically behind? Experts and former Federal Communications Commission officials describe a federal government that has neglected to treat broadband as a public utility, instead relying on the largely self-regulated internet industry to provide service wherever it wanted, for the price of its choosing. The United States government has historically not seen fast internet as something everyone should have, like it does water or even phone service, and the consequences are becoming frighteningly apparent. “I was responsible for this, and I failed,” Tom Wheeler, who served as chairman of the FCC under President Barack Obama, told me recently.

Read: There are other options besides opening schools

For starters, the FCC has failed to figure out where, exactly, the unconnected live, because the maps of broadband access the agency relies on are generated by internet providers and are extremely inaccurate. The FCC estimates that 19 million Americans don’t have a fast internet connection, but as CityLab’s Linda Poon has written, the true number may be more than double the official figure because of poor data gathering. According to the Pew Research Center, about 15 percent of all households with school-age children lack a high-speed internet connection. Some of these families live in areas that broadband providers don’t service, but others simply can’t afford the broadband that runs right outside their doorstep. In fact, some estimates suggest that the majority of people who don’t have internet actually live in cities and suburbs, not in rural areas. (In response to a request for comment, an FCC spokesperson said, “The Commission is working on a broad effort to collect more precise data from service providers so we can better identify where broadband gaps exist and vastly improve the maps we inherited from the previous Administration.”)

In Cooper’s school district, for instance, there are some areas that internet providers haven’t hooked up, and others where getting internet would be too expensive for students’ families. “You pay $200, $300, and your internet’s still horrible,” she said.

Even in normal times, this digital divide holds back the unconnected in innumerable ways. Broadband access tends toboost local economies, because many companies run on the internet and employers tend to take job applications only online. Many areas that lack internet also lack doctors, but telemedicine can’t reach places where few people have a connection strong enough for FaceTime. People without internet might have trouble accessing news and information, which has steadily migrated online. In areas where broadband exists, but not everyone can afford it, teachers still assign homework online, and only some students can complete it.

Read: These 8 basic steps will let us reopen schools

A lack of internet access can be a source of embarrassment, says Sharon Strover, a communications professor at the University of Texas at Austin. “Many people are acutely aware of their inability to quickly whip out a phone that can connect to the internet without thinking about how much it’s gonna cost.”

In countries such as South Korea and Sweden, governments built out broadband infrastructure and opened it up to internet providers to use, much like the interstate highway system in the U.S., says Roberto Gallardo, the director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development. But the U.S. mostly left this up to the internet companies themselves, and parts of the country got overlooked. Typically, internet companies say there aren’t enough customers in certain areas for them to feel financially incentivized to go there. This occasionally leads to what advocates call “digital redlining,” in which wealthy areas get online, while lower-income neighborhoods don’t. Similar to residential redlining, this has a disparate racial impact: Black Americans are less likely than white Americans to have a broadband connection at home.

“When I worked at the FCC, I fielded phone calls from consumers who would say, ‘Why is broadband deployed two blocks from me, but when I call the provider, they say, “It’s going to cost us tens of thousands of dollars to bring it to your neighborhood?”’” says Chris Lewis, who worked on broadband access in the Obama administration and is now the president of Public Knowledge, an advocacy group for internet access. Meanwhile, in about two dozen states, it’s illegal or very difficult for cities to build out their own internet networks, in large part because of lobbying by internet companies.

Read: What happens when kids don’t have internet at home?

When the government does entice internet providers to go into underserved areas, the companies aren’t held accountable if they fail to connect all of the people they promised to. For instance, CenturyLink received $505 million a year for six years from the FCC to expand rural broadband. The company did not meet its targets, yet it was not sanctioned by the FCC, and it is still eligible for a new round of federal funding this October. (In response to a request for comment, CenturyLink said, “The FCC’s CAF II program rules provide flexibility to address real-world challenges that arise as rural networks are built out. CenturyLink is on track to achieve full deployment in all states well within the time period specified in the FCC’s rules.”)

The reins on internet companies got even looser during the Trump administration. In 2017, the FCC gave up what little command it had over internet providers when it voted to repeal its net-neutrality regulations. Now “the FCC doesn’t have the legal authority to ensure that everyone is connected to broadband,” says Lewis, from Public Knowledge. (At the time, the agency defended its decision as “helping consumers and promoting competition.”)

As a result, by some measures, the digital divide is growing even as the internet becomes more essential. In 2019, a quarter of adults earning less than $30,000 annually relied on their smartphones alone for internet access, up from 12 percent in 2013. Many of these individuals are forced to fill out job applications, school forms, and other paperwork on a five-inch screen.

Several broadband advocates told me it’s too late in the pandemic to try to dig cables into every American’s yard. Instead, Public Knowledge and other groups support inserting a $50 internet-access subsidy into the next COVID-19 relief bill. But that package has stalled out in the Senate, so the future of the subsidy is uncertain.

Read: I run a tutoring company. I get dozens of calls a day about learning pods.

In the COVID-19 era, all of these failures have come crashing down on teachers who now rely on the internet to do their jobs. The charity site Donors Choose has filledupwith teachers who are begging for Wi-Fi hotspots for their students. Strover, the UT-Austin professor, says one common solution for those who don’t have internet is to check out hotspots from public libraries. But during the pandemic, many libraries have been closed.

Students who don’t have internet are offered paper schoolwork packets instead, but as one ESL teacher in rural North Carolina pointed out to me, “not everybody can just read the instructions and then learn it. Then you wouldn’t need a teacher, right?” (She asked to remain anonymous because she was concerned about her job.)

To some teachers, internet access is another domain of the pandemic in which the government has failed to act, leaving everyday Americans scrambling for stopgap solutions. “It feels like a lot of times right now it’s my job as a teacher to find a way for [students] to connect to the internet,” Cooper told me. “And I don’t think that’s my job. Policy makers should have made it possible for students to connect.”

Источник: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2020/08/virtual-learning-when-you-dont-have-internet/615322/

This Is Where The 60% of The World That Don’t Have The Internet Live

WorldMap smallMcKinsey & Company

This map, created by consulting firm McKinsey & Company using data from the World Bank, shows where the roughly 4 billion people around the world who aren’t connected to the Internet live. And it might surprise you.

 

While it often seems like the whole world is connected these days, the reality is that around 60 percent of the world still doesn’t have access to the Internet.

Three quarters of the world’s offline population live in just 20 countries - including India, Russia, Nigeria, Brazil and, surprisingly, the US, where one in five Americans don’t have the Internet.

But things are changing quickly. Current uptake trends suggest that by 2017 nearly one billion more people will be online, with many of those in India. And both Facebook and Google now have innovative projects in the pipelines to help beam wi-fi to the whole world. Facebook intends to do this with giant solar drones, while Google wants to use balloons to beam its Internet.

With Internet access now being a key indicator of someone’s economic prospects, both of these ambitious projects are important to help bring the majority of the world into the future and provide them with equal opportunities.

Even more excitingly, a US Internet provider just rolled out the fastest Internet in the world - capable of downloading a feature film in one second - in a US suburb. Hopefully this will help increase competition and speeds around the rest of the world too.

But in the meantime, it’s fascinating to think about the billions of people out there who don’t have access to information (and procrastination) at the click of a button.

Source: The Washington Post, McKinsey & Company

Источник: https://www.sciencealert.com/this-is-where-the-60-of-the-world-that-don-t-have-the-internet-live

UN: Majority of world's population lacks internet access

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- More than half of the world's population still does not have access to internet, with Asia and Africa having the lowest rates of access, according to a United Nation report.

Of the 7.6 billion people in the world, 3.58 billion, or 48 percent, are using the internet. But that's a significant jump from 2016, when 3.4 billion people or 45.9 percent of the world's population were estimated to be online, the U.N. report stated.

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Europe has the world's highest rate of connectivity, with nearly 80 percent of people online, while Africa had the lowest percentage of internet user penetration, with only 21.8 percent of the population having internet access. But Asia had the highest percentage of people without access, making up 62 percent of all people in the world not online.

"Large gaps in connectivity persist, mainly due to the lack of infrastructure, affordability, lack of skills or lack of relevant content" are some of the reasons for low connectivity rates, the report said.

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However, although Asia has most of the world's offline population, China is the world's largest internet market with more than 700 million people. And India is second, with more than 355 million internet users.

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With developing countries are far behind developed nations in internet access, there is additional gender gap that demonstrates inequality when it comes to the internet.

"Disparities in gender access are largest in developing countries, especially in Africa," the report states. "The Economist Intelligence Unit Index reveals that only 11.6 percent of women access the Internet in Africa, while 88 percent of them access the internet in Europe."

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Источник: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/09/18/UN-Majority-of-worlds-population-lacks-internet-access/6571505782626/

Digital Divide

What Is the Digital Divide?

The digital divide refers to the gap between demographics and regions that have access to modern information and communications technology and those that don’t. Though the term now encompasses the technical and financial ability to utilize available technology—along with access (or a lack of access) to the Internet—the gap it refers to is constantly shifting with the development of technology. When the term was first used in the late 20th century, for example, it described the gap between those who had cellphone access and those who did not.

Key Takeaways

  • The digital divide encompasses the technical and financial ability to utilize available technology, along with access (or a lack of access) to the Internet.
  • Digital divides exist between developed and developing countries, urban and rural populations, young and educated versus older and less educated individuals, and men and women.
  • The urban-rural divide is the single biggest factor in the digital divide.
  • The consequences of the digital divide include isolation, which can affect mental health, educational barriers as postsecondary education increasingly moves online, and worsening gender discrimination.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the differences in digital coverage in the U.S., such as among children forced to attend school remotely and in less affluent communities where people have struggled to get vaccination appointments.
  • The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $65 billion for narrowing the digital divide.

Understanding the Digital Divide

The digital divide describes the gap between people who have access to affordable, reliable Internet service (and the skills and gadgets necessary to take advantage of that access) and those who lack it.

This is an issue within many countries, with rural populations much more likely to be cut off from digital technologies than city residents are. The divide also exists among countries and continents. And it exists between men and women: In 2019, 55% of the global male population was using the Internet, compared with 48% of the female population.

Beyond the gaps between developed and developing countries, rural and urban populations, and men and women, there are other types of digital divides:

  • The access divide: This is the most visible digital divide. It refers to the socioeconomic differences among people and the impact on their ability to afford the devices necessary to get online. In developing countries, many people have limited access to technology or the Internet and do not have the skills necessary to use it effectively.
  • The use divide: This refers to the difference in the level of skills possessed by individuals. There is a generation gap when it comes to the skills necessary to use the Internet. It is also affected by the quality of education that an individual receives. Younger, educated people tend to have more skills than older, less educated ones. 
  • The quality-of-use gap: This measure is a little more complicated. It refers to the different ways that people use the Internet and the fact that some people are far more able to get the information they need from it than others.

These gaps in connectivity and skills reflect existing differences in wealth and access to education, as well as gender discrimination. The digital divide also exacerbates these same differences by barring many people from the information necessary to break out of their current living situation.

The global digital divide

For many years, the global digital divide was seen as a consequence of economic development. As countries and individuals became richer, the common expectation was that they would purchase digital devices and infrastructure and the digital divide would close naturally.

Yet incomes have risen around the world over the past two decades, and access to digital services has remained stubbornly low in much of the developing world. In many cases, this is due to a lack of investment in Internet infrastructure. Citizens may have Internet-enabled devices, but still no connection to the World Wide Web. The Internet penetration rate still varies widely among continents: In 2020, 94.6% of North Americans had Internet access, compared with 39.3% of Africans.

85%

Percentage of the world population that was projected to be covered by a 4G network by the end of 2020

However, those statistics hide a great deal of variation within countries and regions. Large countries with ocean borders tend to have much better Internet access, even when they are underdeveloped in other areas. This is why, in 2020, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations agency for information and communication technologies, started to provide statistics on landlocked developing countries and small island developing states based on aggregate statistics in the developing world.

Similarly, there are major disparities in Internet access even within highly developed countries. Many rural Americans are still without adequate Internet access, and still more lack the skills to take full advantage of the access they do have. Indeed, the most accurate predictors of the digital divide are not age or country. They are educational level and the urban-rural divide. According to recent studies, roughly 72% of people living in urban areas globally have Internet access in their homes, compared with 38% of those who live in rural areas.

Some analysts fear that, instead of narrowing, the digital divide is getting wider. In addition, some questionable business practices appear to be widening the gap even within developed nations: The ongoing debates about net neutrality and versioning can be seen as issues about equitable access to the digital world.

Consequences of the Digital Divide

Until quite recently, access to the Internet was seen as a luxury, and disparities in digital access were seen in largely the same terms. However, there is now widespread consensus that technological discrimination is a form of social exclusion because it deprives certain citizens of essential resources for wealth development.

This is most visible when one looks at the balance of the world economy and particularly at the rapid growth in the number of jobs that require digital access and skills. In the U.S., for instance, nearly half of all jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are in computing. In 2020, there were approximately 1 million unfilled computer science positions. Lack of access to learning these skills is a barrier to these jobs and the income that comes with them.

You don’t have to aspire to a career in tech to be affected by the digital divide. The impacts of the phenomenon reach many people, in several important ways:

  • Lack of communication and isolation: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus the isolation that people without Internet access or skills can quickly experience. This can have serious concomitant effects—from not being able to secure appointments for vaccination against the coronavirus to limiting individuals’ job prospects and affecting their mental health.
  • Barriers to education: As education is increasingly delivered online, those without the resources to access the Internet, including schoolchildren limited to remote learning during the pandemic, can be cut off from opportunities to develop their skills. As a result, children may have educational gaps, and adults may miss out on job opportunities or be unable to gain the basic skills necessary to contribute to their community.
  • Worsening gender discrimination: As noted above, the digital divide also exacerbates many existing forms of discrimination. One of the most widespread is gender discrimination. Women who lack equal access to the Internet are unable to gain an education or information that could help them challenge (and have a better chance of raising) their status.

As the world becomes increasingly dependent on digital technologies, these consequences are likely to become more serious and widespread. It is incumbent upon societies to address the digital divide in a holistic way that recognizes its many aspects and negative outcomes.

Bridging the Digital Divide

In recent years, programs have been launched that aim to combat particular aspects of the digital divide. Many of these are being coordinated at the highest level, including within the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9, which allows individual countries to coordinate their activities toward ending digital discrimination.

Within the developed world, some analysts point to successful 20th-century programs that lifted millions of people out of poverty. One commonly mentioned example is the Rural Electrification Act during the Great Depression, which stands as an example of how the government can help provide technology to underserved areas that private companies don't consider profitable enough to include in their networks.

In addition, these two programs have been launched in the past few years to address other aspects of the digital divide:

  • The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) aims to reduce the cost of broadband Internet in specific areas in the world.
  • Starlink provides high-speed Internet and global coverage at affordable prices via satellites it has launched into space.

Many countries now also run digital literacy programs aimed at teaching both adults and children the skills necessary to breach the digital divide.

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Digital Divide

On Nov. 15, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. Passed with bipartisan support in both the Senate and the House, the many-faceted bill takes dead aim at reducing the digital divide by providing $65 billion to bring high-speed Internet to rural areas of America. Providers who accept the funds are required to offer a low-cost, affordable plan to consumers and display a broadband nutrition label, which will allow people to comparison-shop for the best offer. It also mandates that the Federal Communications Commission must adopt rules prohibiting digital redlining and creates a permanent new perk to help low-income households access the Internet in the form of an affordable connectivity benefit, for which more than one-fourth of American households will be eligible.

Wrapped into the bill is the Digital Equity Act, originally proposed by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in 2019 and co-sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), which establishes two new federal grant programs “to promote digital equality nationwide.” One program will be run by state governments and provide “state-by-state digital equity planning followed by implementation grants to qualifying programs.” The other program creates a yearly national competitive grant program “to support digital equity projects undertaken by individual groups, coalitions, and/or communities of interest anywhere in the U.S.”

What Is the Digital Divide?

The term has been around since the late 20th century, when it labeled the difference between people with cellphones and those without them. Today, it refers to the difference between those who have Internet access (as well as access to other forms of digital communication) and those who do not.

Who Is on What Side of the Divide?

The divide exists in myriad ways, including between urban and rural areas, developed and underdeveloped countries, men and women, and even ocean-bordering and landlocked countries. In all of those cases, the former category is doing better than the latter.

What Is Being Done to Close the Digital Divide?

There are programs to alleviate the situation, both internationally and in the U.S. The former group includes the Alliance for Affordable Internet, which aims to lower the cost of broadband around the globe; One Laptop Per Child, which supplies low-cost laptops to children as well as programs to teach them digital skills; and Starlink, a for-profit enterprise that offers affordable access to high-speed Internet around the world thanks to its dedicated space satellites.

U.S. action is exemplified by the recently passed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a multifaceted piece of legislation that includes $65 billion for programs that will work to bring high-speed Internet to the nation's rural areas.

Источник: https://www.investopedia.com/the-digital-divide-5116352

Jamna Devi got her first cellphone about a year ago. It's one of those with a tiny screen and a numbered keypad, the kind that are becoming increasingly rare in the age of Android and the iPhone.  Devi's village in India's Rajasthan state is almost completely off the grid. It's a sleepy cluster of houses in the middle of the desert. There's one bus a day that passes through, the only connection to the nearest city more than 50 miles away.

She needs to climb onto the roof of her house to catch a couple of bars of cell service so she can call her children and relatives. "From there I can speak," she said. "Sometimes it works. Otherwise this phone is just lying there useless."

Like nearly 900 million people in India, Devi has never used a smartphone or accessed the internet. The race to bring those millions online, adding to more than 500 million Indians already connected to the internet, is being contested by the biggest global names in tech. And they're shaping the future of the internet in the process.

globe

There are 7.6 billion people in the world

7.6bn

globe

Over half of those are connected to the internet

4.1bn

globe

Almost a third of the unconnected are in India

0.9bn

globe

Sources: United Nations, Nielsen, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

"Little over half of the world's population is online, which means about 3.5 billion people across the world are not connected to the internet," Rajan Anandan, managing director of Google in India, told CNN Business last month.

So what will it take to connect those users and make the internet useful for them?

"Those answers lie... in what it would take to get the 900 million [Indians] who are not online," Anandan said.

India has more unconnected people than any other country, and other features that make it the biggest opportunity in global tech today. China’s internet is largely closed off and Brazil has less than a fifth of India’s population. Africa, another massive market, has fewer people and the challenge of operating across an entire continent is much more complex.

Hundreds of millions of Indians are yet to experience the internet, and most will do so on smartphones. Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

India has already seen explosive growth in internet users, fueled by Silicon Valley's rush to tap vast new markets and government investment in modernizing the country's infrastructure.

Google (GOOGL) has helped set up free WiFi services at over 400 train stations across India, and also runs a digital literacy program to teach rural Indian women how to use the internet.

Facebook (FB) wants to set up 20,000 hotspots through its Express WiFi initiative that connects users for about 10 rupees ($0.14) a day. The government has a plan to install 250,000 hotspots in villages across India.

"To my mind, more than creating physical infrastructure we need digital infrastructure," said Amitabh Kant, a senior policy adviser to the Indian government.

Source: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

But arguably the biggest driver of India's online boom has been a free internet gambit by the country's richest man. Mukesh Ambani launched a new $20 billion mobile network, Reliance Jio, in September 2016, with an eye-popping inaugural offer. New customers were given six months of free 4G high-speed internet. That triggered a price war with other mobile providers slashing their rates dramatically.

Now, two years after it launched, Jio has built up a subscriber base of more than 250 million people. And Ambani predicts India will be "fully 4G" by 2020.

"Every phone in India will be a 4G enabled phone, and every customer will have access to 4G connectivity," he said during a speech in October. "We are committed to connecting everyone and everything, everywhere."

For Gorakh Dan, Jio has opened up a whole new world. The 26-year-old works as a stone supplier in the city of Jaisalmer, about 40 miles from Devi's village. He got a Jio SIM card five months ago and then purchased his first smartphone, a Nokia, for about 5,000 rupees ($68). Dan is now obsessed with WhatsApp, which counts India as its biggest market, and YouTube.

He uses a quintessentially Indian expression to describe the impact Ambani's company has had.

"Jio has become everyone's father.”

My journey from India's Silicon Valley to its 'no network' zone

Rishi Iyengar

Read

We had left from Jaisalmer, a small city in the Western Indian desert state of Rajasthan, that morning. After driving past tents, camels and sand dunes for about an hour, we took a sharp left.

Rajasthan, the state where Jaisalmer is located, is known for its vast desert. - Vijay Bedi/CNN

"Now we're entering the no network zone," our translator, Amrit Singh, turned and said to me. Minutes earlier my phone had been pinging with emails, text messages and Instagram notifications. They stopped completely.

We drove on for another 30 minutes, chatting and looking out at the barren landscape, suddenly without our six-inch screens to occupy us. After a few miles, we arrived at a small cluster of mud houses, a village called Bida.

Our first stop was Bida, a remote village with a few hundred residents. - Vijay Bedi/CNN

We set up our camera to interview Sawal Singh, a man who said he was 35 but looked closer to 50. With Amrit translating from Marwadi — the local language — and encouraging our nervous interviewee, we asked him if he knew what the internet was. Singh gave us a blank stare.

When I asked if he had a cellphone, he held up a device smaller than his palm with a numbered keypad. He then got a bit more animated as he explained that there was a big "tower problem" in the area. He showed us how he had to climb up a big tree in the middle of the village to try and make calls. Sometimes it works, mostly it doesn't.

It was a phrase I heard throughout the day — "tower problem" — referring to the mobile towers that these villagers were sure would transform their lives. It wasn't even about the internet, which many of them had never experienced. It was simply about being able to reach people by phone and access services in a country with the fastest growing web in the world.

"I want to speak to my children who live in the city," said Jamna Devi, a resident from the nearby village of Faledi. "If someone gets sick how do we call a doctor? If our animals wander off, how do we call neighboring villages to find out where they went?"

People in Bida want mobile phones to access basic services and government programs. - Vijay Bedi/CNN

Many of the villagers said they wanted to access government programs that they heard could be done through the phone. Most of them were worlds away from the universe of Google, Facebook and Twitter (TWTR).

Some of the younger villagers did have smartphones, the ones who traveled to work as day laborers in Jaisalmer on the one bus a day to the city. There they'd use WhatsApp and YouTube, services that are useless in their unconnected village. And even in the city, they often don't have time to use them except while waiting for the bus back home.

"Do we work and earn a living, or do we sit and watch YouTube?" said a frustrated young man named Rahul. He has a Chinese smartphone that cost him about 10,000 rupees ($140) — an entire month's salary.

When I started researching this story, I knew I needed to visit a place with no internet access. In two years covering India, I've cited the statistic of 900 million unconnected Indians more times than I can remember. But I'd never met any of them, and always wondered who they were. This story gave me the opportunity to change that.

My reporting trip the previous week couldn't have been more different.

I had flown down to Bangalore, the bustling tech hub often referred to as India's Silicon Valley, to visit the country's biggest e-commerce company, Flipkart. When the company started in 2007, India had fewer than 50 million internet users. That number crossed 500 million this year, just as Flipkart was sold to retail giant Walmart (WMT) for $16 billion.

Flipkart headquarters, in an upscale Bangalore area known as Embassy Tech Village, spans three towers of 10 stories each, with about a dozen restaurants and a rooftop basketball court. Those towers house around 8,000 employees from Flipkart's main online shopping business. Hundreds more work for its digital payments and fashion subsidiaries. The offices next door are home to global names such as WeWork and Xiaomi.

When we visited, Flipkart had just sold more than 3 million smartphones in 24 hours as part of its annual "Big Billion Days" sale. The kind that people like Jamna Devi have never used. The gap between those two worlds is vast, but one that Google, Facebook, Reliance Jio (more on that here) and the Indian government are racing to close.

And as more people from Jamna Devi and Sawal Singh's world join the one that companies like Flipkart are dominating, the effects will be felt far beyond India.

India is already the world's second-largest smartphone market, behind China, with more than 400 million users. But they represent less than a third of the population, and smartphone makers are racing to reach the rest.

Samsung and China's Xiaomi now dominate the market, and both are only getting bigger — Samsung (SSNLF) built what it claims is the "world's largest mobile factory" outside New Delhi earlier this year, while Xiaomi has tripled its capacity and can now produce two devices per second in India.

"Unlike the West and in China where people were offline, then online using desktops, then laptops, then mobile ... people skip all these stages and go directly from not being online to being online via a smartphone," Manu Jain, Xiaomi's India head, said in an interview with CNN in May.

Prices matter

Sources: IDC Mobile Phone Tracker *2018 Q2

The main hurdle to getting online is the price of smartphones. Even the most affordable models are still out of reach for many Indians, who earn less than $2,000 a year on average. And Xiaomi just hiked prices because of a plunge in the value of the rupee.

With its pricey iPhones, Apple (AAPL) has struggled to gain a foothold, and currently accounts for barely 2% of India's market. Chinese brands like Oppo and Vivo, on the other hand, have made huge inroads, but even their cheapest smartphones cost around 10,000 rupees ($137).

Google's Anandan points out that even the most basic smartphones cost upwards of $60, while the keypad phones most Indians still use can be purchased for as little as $12.

"Tomorrow morning if I could wake up and have one wish for the Indian internet, I would say it would be a much more affordable quality smartphone," he said. "If we could do that then I think literally overnight we could double the user base in India."

Indians mainly use the internet to watch videos. Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

The hundreds of millions of Indians that do own smartphones, meanwhile, are spoiled for choice as digital giants like Amazon (AMZN), Uber and Netflix (NFLX) battle it out with homegrown rivals such as Flipkart, Ola and Hotstar.

Amazon has earmarked at least$5 billion to expand its India business, and Uber has staked its future in Asia on the country after exiting China and southeast Asia. Netflix released its first Indian original series, "Sacred Games," earlier this year, and has over a dozen more originals in the pipeline.

"India is one of the biggest markets for us," said Jessica Lee, Netflix's vice president of communications in Asia. "You look at the size of the population, internet penetration and the opportunity to grow — the challenge is how do you size this prize?"

graph

India consumed almost 22% of the world’s mobile data between April and June 2018

22%

globe

Data prices have plummeted (rupees per GB)

Sources: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Ericsson mobility report Q2 2018

The internet boom has also produced several Indian startups with multi-billion dollar valuations that are more than holding their own. Ola operates its ride-hailing service in about 110 Indian cities — 80 more than Uber. Flipkart controls an estimated 40% of India's online retail market, compared to Amazon's 32% share. And Paytm, India's leading digital payments firm, has racked up more than 300 million users in eight years.

"We are companies that [have] generated in the internet age," Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma told CNN Business. "I think the internet will become the key driver of social and economic growth of this country."

Other global players are expanding in India by pouring cash into the digital economy.

When Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) picked up a stake in Paytm this year — its first investment in an Indian company — it joined backers like Chinese tech giant Alibaba and Japan's SoftBank, which also has a stake in Ola. Flipkart is now controlled by US retailer Walmart (WMT), which paid $16 billion for a 77% stake earlier this year.

Another big Chinese tech firm, Tencent (TCEHY), has stakes in both Flipkart and Ola. Disney (DIS) is in the process of getting its hands on India's top streaming platform Hotstar and more than 75 million monthly active subscribers as part of its deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox (FOXA).

That heady mix of huge investment and rapid growth has turned India into a laboratory, spinning out ideas and products that will shape the internet way beyond India's borders.

"The future is already here as far as India is concerned," said Ankhi Das, Facebook's director of public policy for South Asia.

There have been a series of "India first" products and features that have been rolled out to other countries.

Uber launched a "lite" low bandwidth version of its app in India earlier this year, while dating app Tinder debuted a feature in India that gives women more control over initiating a conversation. Both companies intend to roll out the features to other countries.

We must build 'a safe environment'

Ankhi Das, Facebook

Read

Facebook’s biggest market is also a tough one. Its messaging service WhatsApp has been linked to lynchings, forcing the company to make changes. CNN Business interviewed Ankhi Das, Facebook's public policy director for India and South Asia. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

India has more Facebook users than any other country in the world. - Imtiyaz Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

What India means to Facebook

India is a very, very big priority for us company wide. It has leadership attention of an extremely high order.
The future is already here as far as India is concerned. It's not the future of internet which will come at some point of time, it's already here.

Digital literacy and fighting abuse

A lot of the people who are coming online in the next phase of growth are going to be first time internet users. Therefore our ability to make sure that people have the tools to understand what are safe internet practices [is] going to be a very important area of work. I think the stability and growth of the internet is all going to be driven by how safe people feel on the internet. We will have to make sure that the next phase of growth and online users...many of them women and children, have a safe environment to engage.

Fake news and misinformation

Fighting fake news and misinformation is a constant process and something where everybody ... has to share a load and carry some responsibility. You can't say ... fake news will never happen. It's such a menace in any society. But you must have a very strong containment strategy.

India's upcoming elections

The first element is maintaining elections integrity, which means that we are going to enforce policies. We are going to be very strict in terms of enforcing against fake accounts. Our goal now is to educate [political] parties about ... what is allowed on the platform and what is not.

Read more of Ankhi Das’ conversation with CNN Business here

Facebook has been using India as a testing ground for years, having introduced a version of its website that worked on basic cellphones as far back as 2011. It has since released several other features and versions of its services in India, with mixed success.

"India is a very, very big priority for us," said Das. "It has always been very core to our mission."

India has had a big influence on companies in other ways. Amazon recently introduced a version of its app in Hindi, India's most popular language, and plans to add other Indian languages in the near future.

Netflix first launched in India in January 2016, as part of a global expansion to 130 new countries. Less than a year later, it began allowing all its users around the world to download shows and watch them offline.

Netflix has more than a dozen Indian original series in the pipeline. Indranil Mukherjee/ AFP

While the download feature wasn't exclusive to India, Lee said the country has played a major role in helping Netflix adapt to emerging markets. "Downloads, mobile compression, making file size smaller for videos so they are able to stream better, less buffering ... all that comes from being in markets like India," she added.

Google has been particularly proactive, introducing offline versions of YouTube and Google Maps and enhancing Google Translate to work better in India's dozens of regional languages.

"In every single product what we're seeing is when we actually build for India or when we actually tailor our products for these Indian users they tend to travel pretty well," Anandan said.

Indians are even shaping the way the internet is used, including the cornerstone of Google's business: search.

"These new users would much rather speak to the internet than tap or type so as a result, for instance, voice search queries in India are growing at 270% per year, which is staggering," Anandan added. "We are already a video-first internet and if you ask me I would say that we will become the world's first voice-first internet."

India's startups are also looking further afield. Ola has expanded to Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the past year. "India is a cut-throat market to operate in," Anand Shah, Ola's head of strategic initiatives, told CNN Business in early November. "If you can do it in India, you can do it anywhere."

Paytm operates in Canada, and is partnering with SoftBank to launch online payments in Japan later this year. "Once we start to expand internationally, we definitely want to go into the US market," Paytm's Sharma said.

As the world's second-largest online population, Indians are bound to have an outsized influence, says Kant. And unlike Chinese internet users, they're using global platforms.

"The largest number of citizens on Twitter will be Indians, the largest number of citizens on Facebook will be Indian," he said.

A Bollywood music label, T-Series, could soon have more subscribers on YouTube than any channel in the world.

India has more people under 25 than any other country, and tech companies are racing to bring them online. Amit Dave/Reuters

The frenzied pace of development is also throwing up regulations — and other enforced changes — that could shape how people experience the internet in other countries.

WhatsApp, for example, has been under fire for misinformation on its platform, which is used by more than 200 million Indians.

Viral hoax messages have been linked to mob violence across India in the past year, with false rumors of child abduction leading to more than a dozen lynchings. The government has repeatedly called out the Facebook-owned company for its role in spreading false information and has asked it to make changes to the way it operates.

WhatsApp has pushed back against some of the demands, including the ability to trace individual messages. But it has added labels that show when a message has been forwarded rather than composed by the sender, and limits on how many simultaneous chats a message can be forwarded to.

If you can do it in India, you can do it anywhere

Anand Shah, head of strategic initiatives, Ola

Both those features were introduced in India and subsequently rolled out to the rest of the world. They have had "a significant impact" in reducing fake news and misinformation on the platform, Das said, adding that they have also proved effective in global scenarios such as Brazil's recent election.

"I think the stability and growth of the internet is all going to be driven by how safe people feel on the internet," she said.

Indians prefer to speak to their phones rather than type or swipe, and the country’s dozens of languages are a huge challenge. Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

More regulations that are in the works could threaten India's status as the global internet's next frontier.

Restrictions on digital payments have already affected WhatsApp and Google, and proposed rules on e-commerce could hit Amazon's India business. Global tech companies say draft legislation mandating that Indian user data be stored only in the country could slam the brakes on its rapid growth.

"I think data localization of any form slows down the internet economy and innovation in countries," Google's Anandan said. "We're hoping that India will be progressive."

The debate over regulation is critical for India's digital economy, which has benefited greatly from China's decision to keep most of its massive internet off-limits to global players.

The likes of Google and Facebook have been cut off from China's 800 million internet users, leading them to pour enormous resources into India. Chinese companies are also taking advantage of India's open economy, building commanding positions in smartphone sales and investing in the country's top startups.

The real India that needs the internet… is not yet online

Rajan Anandan, MD, Google India

"I am extremely bullish ... in terms of opportunity and the diversity that our country offers for any internet platform to be successful," said Facebook's Das.

Sharma, Paytm's CEO, says global tech companies have been given too much freedom. He argues that those benefiting from the country's internet boom have an obligation to store data in India. "Once our data is not going out of this country then we know who is consuming the data, what is it being used or not used for," he said. "Your business is here, your consumers are here, the market is here. Why not?"

As more Indians get online, they will shape the way the internet is used around the world. Burhaan Kinu/ Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Whichever side the government comes down on, that market is only going to get bigger — and fast. Google's Anandan estimates that India will hit 800 million users by 2022 at the latest. "So essentially we are three to four years away from having the user base that China has," he said.

That means that for the tech industry, India is the world's oyster.

"The reality is only 30% of India's market is online today. The real India that needs the internet, that can benefit from the internet is not yet online," Anandan added. "In many ways we are in day zero of the Indian internet."

Rishi Iyengar is India editor for CNN Business, based in New Delhi.

Источник: https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2018/11/business/internet-usage-india-future/

The number of Americans without reliable internet access may be way higher than the government's estimate — and that could cause major problems in 2020

  • The coronavirus outbreak is speeding up the push toward an "online first" world, but way more Americans could be left behind than the government estimates.
  • The Federal Communications Commission says 21 million Americans lack high-speed internet access, but one of its top officials told Axios that "radically overstates" the actual number of people online.
  • A Microsoft study last year found that 162 million Americans lack broadband internet — nearly half the US population.
  • With work, school, and even the 2020 census moving online, that could cause serious problems for people who aren't able to connect.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

People are becoming increasingly dependent on the internet, a process that has rapidly accelerated in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak forces work, school, and other daily activities to move online.

But millions of Americans still lack reliable internet access, and with the actual number likely being way higher than the government has estimated, that could cause serious problems.

The Federal Communications Commission's latest report claims that, as of 2017, 21 million Americans lacked broadband internet. However, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel told Axios on Monday that figure "radically overstates" how many people actually have reliable connections.

That's likely in part because the FCC's estimate is based on self-reported data from internet service providers, and the agency counts an entire census block as having internet access even if the ISP supplies internet to just one household within that census block.

Outside estimates seem to back up Rosenworcel's claim. Last September, an analysis by Microsoft found that 162 million Americans lacked broadband internet. A more recent report from research group BroadbandNow, which used FCC data and checked it against top internet providers' "check availability" tools, put that number at closer to 42 million Americans.

The government having bad data about people's internet access could have major consequences for those left in the digital dark.

To help contain the spread of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, the government is encouraging Americans to respond online to the 2020 census for the first time ever, according to Axios. Since the census helps determine how political power and federal financial resources are distributed across the country, that could mean those with internet aren't able to respond, or at least not without putting their (and others') health at risk.

Additionally, as more schools close or switch to virtual classes amid the coronavirus outbreak, students from low-income and rural areas — which disproportionately lack internet access — are feeling the impact particularly hard. Yet the FCC recently came under fire from lawmakers, who argued that the commission's plans for expanding rural internet access didn't go far enough, indicating the situation may not improve anytime soon.

Источник: https://www.businessinsider.com/americans-lack-of-internet-access-likely-underestimated-by-government-2020-3

इस कहानी को हिंदी में यहां पढ़ें

How to Close the Digital Divide in the U.S.

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Finally, America appears to be taking bold action on fixing its fraying infrastructure. President Joe Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan — despite being negotiated down in a bipartisan deal — is a significant step in addressing one the of the country’s most pressing, deeply rooted, and often overlooked problems: The plan contains a $65 billion budget spread over eight years to close the gaps in the digital infrastructure.

It’s a major investment. Unfortunately, it still falls well short of what’s needed to actually solve the problem. According to our analyses, the budget should have been two and half times as large as the original $100 billion. Let me explain why and what can be done to move forward.

It’s long been acknowledged that even as the digital industry exploded out of this country, America lived with a “digital divide.” While this is loosely understood as the gap between those who have access to reliable internet service and those who don’t, the true nature and extent how many people don t have internet the divide is often under-appreciated. Internet infrastructure is, of course, an essential element of the divide, but infrastructure alone does not necessarily translate into adoption and beneficial use. Local and national institutions, affordability and access, and the digital proficiency of users, how many people don t have internet play significant roles — and there are wide variations across the United States along each of these.

As part of our research initiative, Imagining a Digital Economy for All (IDEA) 2030 (established in collaboration with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth), we disaggregated the digital divide into four distinct components and scored the 50 states along each of these:

  • Infrastructure: Internet speeds; terrestrial broadband coverage; smartphone usage.
  • Inclusivity: Affordability of broadband; equity of broadband access across income groups; actual usage of the internet at broadband speeds.
  • Institutions: Political prioritization of broadband strategy; best practices of government use of technology for public services; restrictions on alternative local broadband solutions, such as municipal networks.
  • Digital Proficiency: How well people can navigate the digital world, which is shaped by demographic profile, education levels, political tolerance, degree of skepticism about news sourced from social media.

The state of the digital divide across all 50 states can be visualized in the exhibit below.

The Digital Divide Reinforces Divides in Key Services

The inability to use the internet pushes access to many essential services out of reach. Often, this compounds other inequities and historical injustices.

Consider telehealth, an essential lifeline post-pandemic — particularly with a surge in mental health consultations. Even as many states expanded telehealth policies to accommodate this surge, our research shows that the digital divide hampered access in New Mexico, Montana, Vermont, and Iowa. Other states, including West Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and South Carolina, were slow in expanding their policies and are poor in terms of digital access as well.

A parallel story played out with schools. As more than 55 million students moved to online learning during the pandemic, one in five teens, ages 13 to 17, reported being unable to do their homework “often” or “sometimes” because of unreliable Internet access. Twelve million children were without internet access altogether. The challenges varied by location. To consider an extreme example, 70% of children in the Kansas City school district did not have internet access at home, a problem made worse by the fact that Missouri only spends about $10,600 per pupil, which puts it near the bottom third compared to other states.

The digital divide also reinforces racial inequity. Nearly half of Americans without at-home internet were in Black and Hispanic households. With a 14-point gap in broadband access between white and Black households with school-going children, and a 12-point gap between white and Hispanic households, we find that up to 40% of disconnected K-12 students from Black, Latino, and indigenous communities struggle with insufficient digital literacy, language obstacles, and other disincentives to use the internet and find ways to gain better access.

The digital divisions are likely to keep these historic disadvantages in place in the future. Seventy percent of Black and 60% of Hispanic respondents report being underprepared with digital skills, affecting their employability. While a third of all white workers in 2018 were in jobs they could do from home, less than 20% percent of Black workers and only 16% percent of Hispanic workers were in jobs that could be done remotely. Without additional intervention to close this divide, a majority of Black and Hispanic workers could be locked out t mobile refill account 86% of jobs by 2045.

The divide has economic costs overall. Access to reliable internet is also a strong predictor of economic opportunity. According to a Deloitte study, a 10% increase in broadband access in 2014 how many people don t have internet have resulted in more than 875,000 additional U.S. jobs and $186 billion more in economic output in 2019. The shift to remote work has been an opportunity to spread talent and economic benefits across the country — 14 to 23 million Americans say they intend to relocate to a different city or region, according to a study by Upwork, and many already have. But while several cities and states have been offering incentives for inbound moves, most of the regions eager for inbound moves also have some of the largest digital gaps. Consider West Virginia, where the governor is offering $12,000 to remote workers. But according to our analyses, West Virginia ranks 50 out of 50 in infrastructure and digital literacy, 46 in inclusivity and 19 in institutions. Sixty-two percent of urban West Virginia does not use the internet at broadband speeds.

The Digital Divide is Deeper Than We Think — But We Can Still Fix It

Biden’s original infrastructure budget proposed $100 billion for digital infrastructure. While large, it is actually not large enough: It mirrored a parallel proposal in Congress, which, in turn, drew upon a 2017 FCC estimate that it would cost $80 billion to expand broadband access to every household. These budgets use an incorrect FCC mapping of access to the country’s digital infrastructure, which pegs the broadband disconnected at “fewer than 14.5 million,” which even the current acting FCC chair, Jessica Rosenworcel, acknowledges is an undercount. A more reliable “manual” check by the research group, BroadbandNow, estimated 42 million Americans were without broadband; factoring in other challenges in getting people to actually use the service, that number of people not using broadband is arguably much higher.

Using the FCC’s cost structures on these revised figures, our research team analyses the budget need to be at least $240 billion — $175 billion more than the $65 billion allocated under the terms of the current bipartisan deal. The number could be even higher, as the Biden American Jobs Plan fact sheet calls for “future-proof” broadband and the need to upgrade the nation’s broadband standards to enable high bandwidth-using applications such as streaming video and Zoom conferencing that have proved to be essential through the pandemic. While the Biden team insists it has creative ways to stretch the tighter budget, it still needs new revenue sources and opportunities to save on costs.

Fixing the digital divide ought to be a priority as it sits at the center of numerous other societal problems, ranging from racial inequities to unevenness of access to essential needs, including health care and education. The execution will need to be locally appropriate and must go beyond filling in physical infrastructure.

I have several recommendations for action. They will require leadership and collaboration across government and business at the federal and local levels.

  1. Use a “Romer” tax to cover the budget shortfall. The current political environment demands that how many people don t have internet initiative be paid for without deficit spending. I would recommend turning to the industry that stands to benefit the most from connectivity: Big Tech. The Nobel laureate, Paul Romer, has recently suggested taxing revenues from targeted digital ads, which, in my opinion, would be an ideal revenue source. Digital ads offer large revenue pools: In 2020, social media advertising revenues were $41.5 billion, while digital video advertising revenue were $26.2 billion and advertisers were expected to spend $59.22 billion on search ads. A tax rate of, say, 19% could help close the $175 billion budget gap over eight years. The tech tax revenues could be collected in a new Universal Broadband Fund, modeled on the Universal Service Fund, how many people don t have internet which long-distance telecoms were assessed to subsidize telephone service to high-cost areas. FCC chair Rosenworcel has said she finds such a proposal “intriguing,” but that “it’s clear that this would require action from Congress.” Maryland has already adopted the idea and other states are considering it.
  2. Coordinate locally appropriate solutions. The digital divide is an aggregate of many divides, with local barriers to be overcome. We should prioritize efforts in states where less than a third of the population has basic broadband access: Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, and West Virginia. We need to enable new entrants by removing bureaucratic obstacles, such as bans on municipal networks, which currently exist in  18 states. All states should have a broadband strategy. In addition, a reconsideration of the FCC’s 2017 decision to roll back net neutrality — the idea that internet service providers should not be allowed to favor or throttle service for particular forms of traffic — can help restrain broadband providers from charging more for certain services or content. A federally orchestrated approach will help ensure consistency, inclusion, and a prioritization of resources and regulatory reforms.
  3. Recruit Big Tech and internet service providers (ISPs) to help close gaps. As the government has leverage over the tech giants that are in the regulatory crosshairs — Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple — these companies ought to be encouraged to offer favorable deals on the internet access infrastructure they own. For example, Facebook has high-capacity fiberoptic networks that can be used to provide broadband access, along with its Terragraph technology that can be used to deliver fiber-like speeds in urban settings. In parallel, major ISPs should also be made to fulfill their outstanding commitments to provide internet access. CenturyLink and Frontier Communications, for example, have taxpayer-subsidized broadband connectivity projects that need to be finished. These “low hanging fruits” should be a key part of the administration’s plan.
  4. Identify gap areas and invite public-private solutions. Given the numerous restrictions on purely public or municipal solutions, the federal government should be open to local public-private partnerships prioritizing the most vulnerable areas to accelerate the process. It can organize a bidding process to solicit solutions and get state governments involved in the process, then set targets for each state and tie subsidies, grants, and additional incentives to hit them. There is successful precedent for similar projects: Google and the state of California collaborated to connect 100,000 rural households, Microsoft and other companies worked with NGOs on a digital connectivity pilot in East Cleveland, and Facebook’s fiber network helped connect multiple educational institutions in North Carolina.
  5. Update and expand existing affordability programs. The FCC’s E-Rate program, originally designed to provide discounts to schools and libraries for telecoms access, should be expanded to include households with schoolchildren in broadband deserts. Then there’s the federal Lifeline program, designed to provide subsidies for telephone and internet services to eligible low-income households. However, the service quality was so poor that only 25% of those eligible took advantage of it. This situation can be improved by providing further funding for Lifeline and offering a wider set of better connectivity plans to users.
  6. Build in future-proofing. The standards for broadband need to be raised in order to accommodate the increased demands on internet ecosystems down the road. A bipartisan group of four U.S. senators have even sent a letter to the FCC, the U.S. Commerce Department, and the Department of Agriculture, urging raising the federal broadband standard to 100 Mbps in keeping with these growing needs. Resistance from cable and telecom companies about such a change in standards needs to be anticipated and managed. (These companies worry that they would be excluded from government grants and subsidies and that competitors backed by public subsidies would have an unfair advantage.) Also, future-proofing should integrate a federal “Dig Once” mandate that would require the simultaneous construction of broadband infrastructure alongside other unrelated construction projects, wherever feasible. Such a policy could save considerably on construction costs and allow simultaneous construction of broadband infrastructure alongside other infrastructure projects.
  7. Invest in digital literacy. Only 40% of American adults can answer basic questions on topics including phishing, privacy, and cookies. Digital literacy is key to improving adoption, combating misinformation and scams, and limiting the risks of cyber-attacks. Public and private-sector initiatives can build on the foundations set by the Accessible and Affordable Internet for All Act that puts aside $60 million in grants to states seeking to bolster digital literacy programs. Lifelong digital proficiency programs — beginning at a young age in the broader education system and continuing through later adulthood on the job — can offer Americans a source of resilience against these threats and make them better consumers of the digital ecosystems. More resources for “digital inclusion funds” and “digital navigators” that already help low-income households and older adults in the use of technology in many cities ought to be scaled-up nationwide

Bridging of the digital divide is both complex and daunting, but there are reasons for hope. Many institutions — both public and private — stand to gain from it being addressed. The pandemic experience is a reminder of the very real costs of the digital divide that have added up over the years: Schoolchildren without internet access fell behind. Residents of internet deserts missed vaccine appointments snapped up by internet-enabled non-residents. Disadvantaged minority populations felt the pinch of inadequate high-speed internet access how many people don t have internet jobs and job searches went remote. We now have a rare bipartisan agreement on the urgency of solving the problem. Let’s act on it.

The author is grateful to Christina Filipovic, Ravi Shankar Chaturvedi, Joy Zhang, and the IDEA 2030 research team.For more details and data on the digital divide in the United States, please visit Turning America’s Digital Divide into Digital Dividends.

Источник: https://hbr.org/2021/07/how-to-close-the-digital-divide-in-the-u-s

In July 2016, the United Nations declared access to the Internet to be a human right. During the coronavirus pandemic, it has become even clearer that access to the Internet and digital technologies can be a lifesaver for many people around the world. Health related information can reduce the spread of the virus and save lives, while many online services can help us to live normally when our movements are restricted. Governments and telecommunication and Internet service providers (telcos and ISPs) must do everything they can to guarantee and enable people’s access to the Internet, in full compliance with international standards.

Access to the Internet and digital technologies has become essential for most of us in our everyday lives. Technology enables us to work, shop, communicate and access important services. Increasingly, technology is a key enabler for the exercise and enjoyment of many human rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression and information.

During a public health emergency, access to the internet becomes even more of an essential tool for protecting our health as well as a range of human rights, including our social and economic rights while our everyday movements are restricted. A lack of access to the Internet significantly impacts people’s lives during this time. The Internet enables us to receive and share vital information about the pandemic and the measures being put in place to tackle it. It helps us to understand and scrutinise our governments’ actions. And with approximately 20% of the world’s population social distancing or living under quarantine conditions, technology helps us to work, shop and communicate. A number of daily activities have shifted online, ranging from the provision of health services to education programmes that enable home schooling.

A lack of adequate infrastructure or connectivity usually leaves behind the poorest communities, and the digital divide shows its discriminatory effects in all its strength.

Lack of access to the Internet during the coronavirus pandemic can be a result of:

  • Government shutdowns: In some countries, the population is arbitrarily kept offline by government measures that shut down the Internet. For example, since 2019, the Bangladesh government has claimed security concerns justify the shutdown of mobile internet connection in Rohingya refugee camps. Similarly, in Myanmar, the Government has imposed Internet shutdowns in nine townships of Rakhine and Chin. In Kashmir and Jammu Internet slowdowns are obstructing timely access to information about the virus to parts of India’s population.
  • Poor digital infrastructure: A lack of sufficiently developed digital infrastructure can leave people unconnected or unable to use services that require a high-quality internet connection. This is particularly the case in developing countries that usually have less developed fixed infrastructure. However, the existence and availability of adequate infrastructure can also vary substantially within a region or country. For example, in the USA, while the vast majority of households in urban areas have access to high-speed broadband,roughly 27% of rural Americans lack access to it. Even in well-connected areas, a high-speed connection may not be affordable for a large number of people with low income. In Italy, one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, about 30% of the population does not have high-speed broadband due to the existing infrastructure. 
  • Exclusion of some communities: Some communities have been historically excluded from access to the Internet and digital technologies. In Mexico, the indigenous and peasant communities that make up almost 25% of the population face obstacles in accessing the Internet. These include not only the lack of Internet infrastructure but also economic, social and cultural limitations. Displaced communities such as those in refugees’ camps, usually struggle to have adequate access to all essential services, from water to electricity, and therefore to the Internet too.

Role of States, telcos and ISPs

In these circumstances, it is essential that States, telecos and ISPs put in place various measures to ensure that people have functional connectivity and access to the Internet.

Some governments and companies are already moving in this direction. For instance, in the USA,a number of ISPs have waived data caps to accommodate people’s new needs for working and learning from home. InUruguay, ANTEL (the state telecommunications company), announced on 24 March that in April, 120,000 houses will be benefited with free 50Gb to navigate and work from home. This was in response to the Government’s instructions to prioritise this work programme. InEl Salvador, a presidential decree ordered the suspension of payments related to Internet and electricity for three months; however, the criteria to receive this benefit is unclear and there have been ambiguous orders that those who can continue paying should do so. In Colombia,the Government issued a decree that recognises telecommunications services as essential and establishes that their provision cannot be suspended for lack of payment. A similar provision has been issued by thePeruvian telecoms authority, OSIPTEL, for as long as the emergency status persists. TheSouth Africa’s telecommunication regulator has requested mobile operators and pay-TV providers make their services free for the duration of the coronavirus emergency. The International Telecommunication Union has announced the setting of a new platform to assist governments and the private sector in ensuring that networks are kept resilient and telecommunication services are available to all.

ARTICLE 19 calls on States to adopt comprehensive measures that ensure people’s access to health related information and protect freedom of expression during the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, they should take a human rights approach to access to the Internet and digital technologies. Governments should support and improve telcos and ISPs in improving access to the Internet without discrimination. They should refrain from restrictions to access to the Internet and connectivity, such as special social media taxes or similar measures, and from imposing Internet shutdowns. States must also recognise that marginalised groups are disproportionately affected by a lack of access to the Internet, particularly when most countries’ communication strategy during the pandemic is online centred. They need to adopt a variety of methods to share critical information, and support community-based communicative models that may be the only source of information for some communities. They should ensure that information can be delivered in a timely way to all, including to people in areas where Internet and electricity infrastructure are lacking. 

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how essential access to the internet and digital technologies are to all communities, irrespective of economic, political, social or geographical circumstances. Today more than ever, it is clear that wide availability of Internet infrastructure and services, delivered without discrimination, is fundamental for resilient and strong societies. 

 

Источник: https://www.article19.org/resources/access-to-the-internet-can-be-a-matter-of-life-and-death-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

UN: Majority of world's population lacks internet access

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- More than half of the world's population still does not have access to internet, with Asia and Africa having the lowest rates of access, according to a United Nation report.

Of the 7.6 billion people in the world, 3.58 billion, or 48 percent, are using the internet. But that's a significant jump from 2016, when 3.4 billion people or 45.9 percent of the world's population were estimated to be online, the U.N. report stated.

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Europe has the world's highest rate of connectivity, with nearly 80 percent of people online, while Africa had the lowest percentage of internet user penetration, with only 21.8 percent of the population having internet access. But Asia had the highest percentage of people without access, making up 62 percent of all people in the world not online.

"Large gaps in connectivity persist, mainly due to the lack of infrastructure, affordability, lack of skills or lack of relevant content" are some of the reasons for low connectivity rates, the report said.

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However, although Asia has most of the world's offline population, China is the world's largest internet market with more than 700 million people. And India is second, with more than 355 million internet users.

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With developing countries are far behind developed nations in internet access, there is additional gender gap that demonstrates inequality when it comes to the internet.

"Disparities in gender access are largest in developing countries, especially in Africa," the report states. "The Economist Intelligence Unit Index reveals that only 11.6 percent of women access the Internet in Africa, while 88 percent of them access the internet in Europe."

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Источник: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/09/18/UN-Majority-of-worlds-population-lacks-internet-access/6571505782626/

This Is Where The 60% of The World That Don’t Have The Internet Live

WorldMap smallMcKinsey & Company

This map, created by consulting firm McKinsey & Company using data from the World Bank, shows where the roughly 4 billion people around the world who aren’t connected to the Internet live. And it might surprise you.

 

While it often seems like the whole world is connected these days, the reality is that around 60 percent of the world still doesn’t have access to the Internet.

Three quarters of the world’s offline population live in just 20 countries - including India, Russia, Nigeria, Brazil and, surprisingly, the US, where one in five Americans don’t have the Internet.

But things are changing quickly. Current uptake trends suggest that by 2017 nearly one billion more people will be online, with many of those in India. And both Facebook and Google now have innovative projects in the pipelines to help beam wi-fi to the whole world. Facebook intends to do this with giant solar drones, while Google wants to use balloons to beam its Internet.

With Internet access now being a key indicator of someone’s economic prospects, both of these ambitious projects are important to help bring the majority of the world into the future and provide them with equal opportunities.

Even more excitingly, a US Internet provider just rolled out the fastest Internet in the world - capable of downloading a feature film in one second - in a US suburb. Hopefully this will help increase competition and speeds around the rest of the world too.

But in the meantime, it’s fascinating to think about the billions of people out there who don’t have access to information (and procrastination) at the click of a button.

Source: The Washington Post, McKinsey & Company

Источник: https://www.sciencealert.com/this-is-where-the-60-of-the-world-that-don-t-have-the-internet-live

The number of Americans without reliable internet access may be way higher than the government's estimate — and that could cause major problems in 2020

  • The coronavirus outbreak is speeding up the push toward an "online first" world, but way more Americans could be left behind than the government estimates.
  • The Federal Communications Commission says 21 million Americans lack high-speed internet access, but one of its top officials told Axios that "radically overstates" the actual number of people online.
  • A Microsoft study last year found that 162 million Americans lack broadband internet — nearly half the US population.
  • With work, school, and even the 2020 census moving online, that could cause serious problems for people who aren't able to connect.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

People are becoming how many people don t have internet dependent on the internet, a process that has rapidly accelerated in recent weeks as the coronavirus outbreak forces work, school, and other daily activities to move online.

But millions of Americans still lack reliable internet access, and with the actual number likely being way higher than the government has estimated, that could cause serious problems.

The Federal Communications Commission's latest report claims that, as of 2017, 21 million Americans lacked broadband internet. However, FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel told Axios on Monday that figure "radically overstates" how many people actually have reliable connections.

That's likely in part because the FCC's estimate is based on self-reported data from internet service providers, and the agency counts an entire census block as having internet access even if the ISP supplies internet to just one household within that census block.

Outside estimates seem to back up Rosenworcel's claim. Last September, an analysis by Microsoft found that 162 million Americans lacked broadband internet. A more recent report from research group BroadbandNow, which used FCC data and checked it against top internet providers' "check availability" tools, put that number at closer to 42 million Americans.

The government having bad data about people's internet access could have major consequences for those left in the digital dark.

To help contain the spread of the coronavirus disease, COVID-19, the government is encouraging Americans to respond online to the 2020 census for the first time ever, according to Axios. Since the census helps determine how political power and federal financial resources are distributed across the country, that could mean those with internet aren't able to respond, or at least not without putting their (and others') health at risk.

Additionally, as more schools close or switch to virtual classes amid the coronavirus outbreak, students from low-income and rural areas — which disproportionately lack internet access — are feeling the impact particularly hard. Yet the FCC recently came under fire from lawmakers, who argued that the commission's plans for expanding rural internet access didn't go far enough, indicating the situation may not improve anytime soon.

Источник: https://www.businessinsider.com/americans-lack-of-internet-access-likely-underestimated-by-government-2020-3

Jamna Devi got her first cellphone about a year ago. It's one of those with a tiny screen and a numbered keypad, the kind that are becoming increasingly rare in the age of Android and the iPhone.  Devi's village in India's Rajasthan state is almost everything i do i do it for you music video off the grid. It's a sleepy cluster of houses in the middle of the desert. There's one bus a day that passes through, the only connection to the nearest city more than 50 miles away.

She needs to climb onto the roof of her house to catch a couple of bars of cell service so she can call her children and relatives. "From there I can speak," she said. "Sometimes it works. Otherwise this phone is just lying there useless."

Like nearly 900 million people in India, Devi has never used a smartphone or accessed the internet. The race to bring those millions online, adding to more than 500 million Indians already connected to the internet, is being contested by the biggest global names in tech. And they're shaping the future of the internet in the process.

globe

There are 7.6 billion people in the world

7.6bn

globe

Over half of those are connected to the internet

4.1bn

globe

Almost a third of the unconnected are in India

0.9bn

globe

Sources: United Nations, Nielsen, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

"Little over half of the world's population is online, which means about 3.5 billion people across the world are not connected to the internet," Rajan Anandan, managing director of Google in India, told CNN Business last month.

So what will it take to connect those users and make the internet useful for them?

"Those answers lie. in what it captain america endgame shield take to get the 900 million [Indians] who are not online," Anandan said.

India has more unconnected people than any other country, and other features that make it the biggest opportunity in global tech today. China’s internet is largely closed off and Brazil has less than a fifth of India’s population. Africa, another massive market, has fewer people and the challenge of operating across an entire continent is much more complex.

Hundreds of millions of Indians are yet to experience the internet, and most will do so on smartphones. Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

India has already seen explosive growth in internet users, fueled by Silicon Valley's rush to tap vast new markets and government investment in modernizing the country's infrastructure.

Google (GOOGL) has helped set up free WiFi services at over 400 train stations across India, and also runs a digital literacy program to teach rural Indian women how to use the internet.

Facebook (FB) wants to set up 20,000 hotspots through its Express WiFi initiative that connects users for about 10 rupees ($0.14) a day. The government has a plan to install 250,000 hotspots in villages across India.

"To my mind, more than creating physical infrastructure we need digital infrastructure," said Amitabh Kant, a senior policy adviser to the Indian government.

Source: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India

But arguably the biggest driver of India's online boom has been a free internet gambit by the country's richest man. Mukesh Ambani launched a new $20 billion mobile network, Reliance Jio, in September 2016, with an eye-popping inaugural offer. New customers were given six months of free 4G high-speed internet. That triggered a price war with other mobile providers slashing their rates dramatically.

Now, two years after it launched, Jio has built up a subscriber base of more than 250 million people. And Ambani predicts India will be "fully 4G" by 2020.

"Every phone in India will be a 4G enabled phone, and every customer will have access to 4G connectivity," he said during a speech in October. "We are committed to connecting everyone and everything, everywhere."

For Gorakh Dan, Jio has opened up a whole new world. The 26-year-old works as a stone supplier in the city of Jaisalmer, about 40 miles from Devi's village. He got a Jio SIM card five months ago and then purchased his first smartphone, a Nokia, for about 5,000 rupees ($68). Dan is now obsessed with WhatsApp, which counts India as its biggest market, and YouTube.

He uses a quintessentially Indian expression to describe the impact Ambani's company has had.

"Jio has become everyone's father.”

My journey from India's Silicon Valley to its 'no network' zone

Rishi Iyengar

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We had left from Jaisalmer, a small city in the Western Indian desert state of Rajasthan, that morning. After driving past tents, camels and sand dunes for about an hour, we took a sharp left.

Rajasthan, the state where Jaisalmer is located, is known for its vast desert. - Vijay Bedi/CNN

"Now we're entering the no network zone," our translator, Amrit Singh, turned and said to me. Minutes earlier my phone had been pinging with emails, text messages and Instagram notifications. They stopped completely.

We drove on for another 30 minutes, chatting and looking out at the barren landscape, suddenly without our six-inch screens to occupy us. After a few miles, we arrived at a small cluster of mud houses, a village called Bida.

Our first stop was Bida, a remote village with a few hundred residents. - Vijay Bedi/CNN

We set up our camera to interview Sawal Singh, a man who said he was 35 but looked closer to 50. With Amrit translating from Marwadi — the local language — and encouraging our nervous interviewee, we asked him if he knew what the internet was. Singh gave us a blank stare.

When I asked if he had a cellphone, he held up a device smaller than his palm with a numbered keypad. He then got a bit more animated as he explained that there was a big "tower problem" in the area. He showed us how he had to climb up a big tree in the middle of the village to try and make calls. Sometimes it works, mostly it doesn't.

It was a phrase I heard throughout the day — "tower problem" — referring to the mobile towers that these villagers were sure would transform their lives. It wasn't even about the internet, which many of them had never experienced. It was simply about being able to reach people by phone and access services in a country with the fastest growing web in the world.

"I want to speak to my children who live in the city," said Jamna Devi, a resident from the nearby village of Faledi. "If someone gets sick how do we call a doctor? If our animals wander off, how do we call neighboring villages to find out where they went?"

People in Bida want mobile phones to access basic services and government programs. - Vijay Bedi/CNN

Many of the villagers said they wanted to access government programs that they heard could be done through the phone. Most of them were worlds away from the universe of Google, Facebook and Twitter (TWTR).

Some of the younger villagers did have smartphones, the ones who traveled to work as day laborers in Jaisalmer on the one bus a day to the city. There they'd use WhatsApp and YouTube, services that are useless in their unconnected village. And even in the city, they often don't have time to use them except while waiting for the bus back home.

"Do we work and earn a living, or do we sit and watch YouTube?" said a frustrated young man named Rahul. He has a Chinese smartphone that cost him about 10,000 rupees ($140) — an entire month's salary.

When I started researching this story, I knew I needed to visit a place with no internet access. In two years covering India, I've cited the statistic of 900 million unconnected Indians more times than I can remember. But I'd never met any of them, and always wondered who they were. This story gave me the opportunity to change that.

My reporting trip the previous week couldn't have been more different.

I had flown down to Bangalore, the bustling tech hub often referred to as India's Silicon Valley, to visit the country's biggest e-commerce company, Flipkart. When the company started in 2007, India had fewer than 50 million internet users. That number crossed 500 million this year, just as Flipkart was sold to retail giant Walmart (WMT) for $16 billion.

Flipkart headquarters, in an upscale Bangalore area known as Embassy Tech Village, spans three towers of 10 stories each, with about a dozen restaurants and a rooftop basketball court. Those towers house around 8,000 employees from Flipkart's main online shopping business. Hundreds more work for its digital payments and fashion subsidiaries. The offices next door are home to global names such as WeWork and Xiaomi.

When we visited, Flipkart had just sold more than 3 million smartphones in 24 hours as part of its annual "Big Billion Days" sale. The kind that people like Jamna Devi have never used. The gap between those two worlds is vast, but one that Google, Facebook, Reliance Jio (more on that here) and the Indian government are racing to close.

And as more people from Jamna Devi and Sawal Singh's world join the one that companies like Flipkart are dominating, the effects will be felt far beyond India.

India is already the world's second-largest smartphone market, behind China, with more than 400 million users. But they represent less than a third of the population, and smartphone makers are racing to reach the rest.

Samsung and China's Xiaomi now dominate the market, and both are only getting bigger — Samsung (SSNLF) built what it claims is the "world's largest mobile factory" outside New Delhi earlier this year, while Xiaomi has tripled its capacity and can now produce two devices per second in India.

"Unlike the West and in China where people were offline, then online using desktops, then laptops, then mobile . people skip all these stages and go directly from not being online to being online via a smartphone," Manu Jain, Xiaomi's India head, said in an interview with CNN in May.

Prices matter

Sources: IDC Mobile Phone Tracker *2018 Q2

The main hurdle to getting online is the price of smartphones. Even the most affordable models are still out of reach for many Indians, who earn less than $2,000 a year on average. And Xiaomi just hiked prices because of a plunge in the value of the rupee.

With its pricey iPhones, Apple (AAPL) has struggled to gain a foothold, and currently accounts for barely 2% of India's market. Chinese brands like Oppo and Vivo, on the other hand, have made huge inroads, but even their cheapest smartphones cost around 10,000 rupees ($137).

Google's Anandan points out that even the most basic smartphones cost upwards of $60, while the keypad phones most Indians still use can be purchased for as little as $12.

"Tomorrow morning if I could wake up and have one wish for the Indian internet, I would say it would be a much more affordable quality smartphone," he said. "If how many people don t have internet could do that then I think literally overnight we could double the user base in India."

Indians mainly use the internet to watch videos. Dominique Faget/AFP/Getty Images

The hundreds of millions of Indians that do own smartphones, meanwhile, are spoiled for choice as digital giants like Amazon (AMZN), Uber and Netflix (NFLX) battle it out with homegrown rivals such as Flipkart, Ola and Hotstar.

Amazon has earmarked at least$5 billion to expand its India business, and Uber has staked its future in Asia on the country after exiting China and southeast Asia. Netflix released its first Indian original series, "Sacred Games," earlier this year, and has over a dozen more originals in the pipeline.

"India is one of the biggest markets for us," said Jessica Lee, Netflix's vice president of communications in Asia. "You look at the size of the population, internet penetration and the opportunity to grow — the challenge is how do you size this prize?"

graph

India consumed almost 22% of the world’s mobile data between April and June 2018

22%

globe

Data prices have plummeted (rupees per GB)

Sources: Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, Ericsson mobility report Q2 2018

The internet boom has also produced several Indian startups with multi-billion dollar valuations that are more than holding their own. Ola operates its ride-hailing service in about 110 Indian cities — b of a account sign in more than Uber. Flipkart controls an estimated 40% of India's online retail market, compared to Amazon's 32% share. And Paytm, India's leading digital payments firm, has racked up more than 300 million users in eight years.

"We are companies that [have] generated in the internet age," Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma told CNN Business. "I think the internet will become the key driver of social and economic growth of this country."

Other global players are expanding in India by pouring cash into the digital economy.

When Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) picked up a stake in Paytm this year — its first investment in an Indian company — it joined backers like Chinese tech giant Alibaba and Japan's SoftBank, which also has a stake in Ola. Flipkart is now controlled by US retailer Walmart (WMT), which paid $16 billion for a 77% stake earlier this year.

Another big Chinese tech firm, Tencent (TCEHY), has stakes in both Flipkart and Ola. Disney (DIS) is in the process of getting its hands on India's top streaming platform Hotstar and more than 75 million monthly active subscribers as part of its deal to buy most of 21st Century Fox (FOXA).

That heady mix of huge investment and rapid growth has turned India into a laboratory, spinning out ideas and products that will shape the internet way beyond India's borders.

"The future is already here as far as India is concerned," said Ankhi Das, Facebook's director of public policy for South Asia.

There have been a series of "India first" products and features that have been rolled out to other countries.

Uber launched a "lite" low bandwidth version of its app in India earlier this year, while dating app Tinder debuted a feature in India that gives women more control over initiating a conversation. Both companies intend to roll out the features to other countries.

We must build 'a safe environment'

Ankhi Das, Facebook

Read

Facebook’s biggest market is also a tough one. Its messaging service WhatsApp has been linked to lynchings, forcing the company to make changes. CNN Business interviewed Ankhi Das, Facebook's public policy director for India and South Asia. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

India has more Facebook users than any other country in the world. - Imtiyaz Khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

What India means to Facebook

India is a very, very big priority for us company wide. It has leadership attention of an extremely high order.
The future is already here as far as India is concerned. It's not the future of internet which will come at some point of time, it's already here.

Digital literacy and fighting abuse

A lot of the people who are coming online in the next phase of growth are going to be first time internet users. Therefore our ability to make sure that people have the tools to understand what are safe internet practices [is] going to be a very important area of work. I think the stability and growth of the internet is all going to be driven by how safe people feel on the internet. We will have to make sure that the next phase of growth and online users.many of them women and children, have a safe environment to engage.

Fake news and misinformation

Fighting fake news and misinformation is a constant process and something where everybody . has to share a load and carry some responsibility. You can't say . fake news will never happen. It's such a menace in any society. But you must have a very strong containment strategy.

India's upcoming elections

The first element is maintaining elections integrity, which means that we are going to enforce policies. We are going to be very strict in terms of enforcing against fake accounts. Our goal now is to educate [political] parties about . what is allowed on the platform and what is not.

Read more of Ankhi Das’ conversation with CNN Business here

Facebook has been using India as a testing ground for years, having introduced a version of its website that worked on basic cellphones as far back as 2011. It has since released several other features and versions of its services in India, with mixed success.

"India is a very, very big priority for us," said Das. "It has always been very core to our mission."

India has had a big influence on companies in other ways. Amazon recently introduced a version of its app in Hindi, India's most popular language, and plans to add other Indian languages in the near future.

Netflix first launched in India in January 2016, as part of a global expansion to 130 new countries. Less than a year later, it began allowing all its users around the world to download shows and watch them offline.

Netflix has more than a dozen Indian original series in the pipeline. Indranil Mukherjee/ AFP

While the download feature wasn't exclusive to India, Lee said the country has played a major role in helping Netflix adapt to emerging markets. "Downloads, mobile compression, making file size smaller for videos so they are able to stream better, less buffering . all that comes from being in markets like India," she added.

Google has been particularly proactive, introducing offline versions of YouTube and Google Maps and enhancing Google Translate to work better in India's dozens of regional languages.

"In every single product what we're seeing is when we actually build for India or when we actually tailor our products for these Indian users they tend to travel pretty well," Anandan said.

Indians are even shaping the way the internet is used, including the cornerstone of Google's business: search.

"These new users would much rather speak to the usa holidays 2020 than tap or type so as a result, for instance, voice search queries in India are growing at 270% per year, which is staggering," Anandan added. "We are already a video-first internet and if you ask me I would say that we will become the world's first voice-first internet."

India's startups are also looking further afield. Ola has expanded to Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in the past year. "India is a cut-throat market to operate in," Anand Shah, Ola's head of strategic initiatives, told CNN Business in early November. "If you can do it in India, you can do it anywhere."

Paytm operates in Canada, and is partnering with SoftBank to launch online payments in Japan later this year. "Once we start to expand internationally, we definitely want to go into the US market," Paytm's Sharma said.

As the world's second-largest online population, Indians are bound to have an outsized influence, says Kant. And unlike Chinese internet users, they're using global platforms.

"The largest number of citizens on Twitter will be Indians, the largest number of citizens on Facebook will be Indian," he said.

A Bollywood music label, T-Series, could soon have more subscribers on YouTube than any channel in the world.

India has more people under 25 than any other country, and tech companies are racing to bring them online. Amit Dave/Reuters

The frenzied pace of development is also throwing up regulations — and other enforced changes — that could shape how people experience the internet in other countries.

WhatsApp, for example, has been under fire for misinformation on its platform, which is used by more than 200 million Indians.

Viral hoax messages have been linked to mob violence across India in the past year, with false rumors of child abduction leading to more than a dozen lynchings. The government has repeatedly called out the Facebook-owned company for its role in spreading false information and has asked it to make changes to the way it operates.

WhatsApp has pushed back against some of the demands, including the ability to trace individual messages. But it has added labels that show when a message has been forwarded rather than composed by the sender, and limits on how many simultaneous chats a message can be forwarded to.

If you can do it in India, you can do it anywhere

Anand Shah, head of strategic initiatives, Ola

Both those features were introduced in India and subsequently rolled out to the rest of the world. They have had "a significant impact" in reducing fake news and misinformation on the platform, Das said, adding that they have also proved effective in global scenarios such as Brazil's recent election.

"I think the stability and growth of the internet is all going to be driven by how safe people feel on the internet," she said.

Indians prefer to speak to their phones rather than type or swipe, and the country’s dozens of languages are a huge challenge. Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

More regulations that are in the works could threaten India's status as the global internet's next frontier.

Restrictions on digital payments have already affected WhatsApp and Google, and proposed rules on e-commerce could hit Amazon's India business. Global tech companies say draft legislation mandating that Indian user data be stored only in the country could slam the brakes on its rapid growth.

"I think data localization of any form slows down the internet economy and innovation in countries," Google's Anandan said. "We're hoping that India will be progressive."

The debate over regulation is critical for India's digital economy, which has benefited greatly from China's decision to keep most of its massive internet off-limits to global players.

The likes of Google and Facebook have been cut off from China's 800 million internet users, leading them to pour enormous resources into India. Chinese companies are also taking advantage of India's open economy, building commanding positions in smartphone sales and investing in the country's top startups.

The real India that needs the internet… is not yet online

Rajan Anandan, MD, Google India

"I am extremely bullish . in terms of opportunity and the diversity that our country offers for any internet platform to be successful," said Facebook's Das.

Sharma, Paytm's CEO, says global tech companies have been given too much freedom. He argues that those benefiting from the country's internet boom have an obligation to store data in India. "Once our data is not going out of this country then we know who is consuming the data, what is it being used or not used for," he said. "Your business is here, your consumers are here, the market is here. Why not?"

As more Indians get online, they will shape the way the internet is used around the world. Burhaan Kinu/ Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Whichever side the government comes down on, that market is only going to get bigger — and fast. Google's Anandan estimates that India will hit 800 million users by 2022 at the latest. "So essentially we are three to four years away from having the user base that China has," he said.

That means that for the tech industry, India is the world's oyster.

"The reality is only 30% of India's market is online today. The real India that needs the internet, that can benefit from the internet is not yet online," Anandan added. "In many ways we are in day zero of the Indian internet."

Rishi Iyengar is India editor for CNN Business, based in New Delhi.

Источник: https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2018/11/business/internet-usage-india-future/