Google’s former CEO and current Chairman, Eric Schmidt claimed earlier this week that everyone in the world would be connected to the Internet by 2020. While there are obvious flaws to this statement, easily proving it wrong, there is no doubt there will be many more people connected to the Internet by 2020.
How in the world is this going to happen and what’s the future of the Internet?
Mobile devices are the answer to this increasingly important question. Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanley predicted this three years ago, that mobile users would outweigh desktop users.
The future of Internet does not lie in PC’s. There are too many limitations, including accessibility and cost. Plus there are very few things that PC’s can do that laptops cannot. Laptops aren’t even the answer to this question, also bringing with it high costs despite increased mobility and accessibility. The ultimate Internet accessible device is the mobile phone.
Increasing cell service across the world especially in third world countries, increasing wi-fi connectivity, decreasing costs, and advancing technology are just a few reasons why the cell phone is ideal for growing the number of people connected to the internet.
The cell service across the world has increased greatly over the past couple of years. In a study done in 2011 they have found that “With 5.9 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions, global penetration reaches 87%, and 79% in the developing world”(ICT). This is a staggering number considering that recent studies have found out that nearly 3 billion people around the globe live on less that $3.00 a day.
Costs of phones are decreasing greatly. Nokia recently announced a phone, the Nokia 105, which would retail for $20, although it offers not much more than texting and calling. Firefox lately just released an OS that will appear on phones costing as little as $69. The major problem is that the cost of connecting to the Internet in developing countries is astounding. For example “In Niger, users pay as much as $0.57 for just 30 mins of internet access, while in Zambia, the price is an average of $0.19 per MB. According to the US State Department, the national minimum wage in Zambia is the equivalent of just $82 per month.” (Neowin.net). In Southeast Asia, in Bangladesh, those making minimum wage in non-garment industries making minimum wage make $19 a month, nearly impossibly to pay for the device AND the service charges on top of the initial cost.
Google is doing what it can to influence this number though. They have the world’s number one mobile phone software, with now a billion activations. With the increasing number of people using the Android software and phones, and the ever-decreasing costs, the internet will invariably become more accessibly.
But Internet to the entire world in just 7 short years? Good try Eric Schmidt but not quite.
What do you think the true extent of the internet will be in 7 years? 15 years? 20 Years
What impact will this have on social media? Facebook? Twitter?
What bearing will this have on you, an owner of a smart phone and able to access the internet at just about any point throughout the day?