Whole World Connected to the Internet in 2020? Mythbusted

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? 



7 thoughts on “Whole World Connected to the Internet in 2020? Mythbusted

  1. The notion of having no internet, let alone mobile phone access, seems like a strange idea coming from as developed a country as the United States. Yet it really isn’t too strange, seeing as over 60 percent of the world doesn’t have access to internet. It’s weird to me that someone intelligent enough to be the chairman of Google would predict something that seems so impossible—unless Google has a master scheme up their sleeve that they aren’t telling us about! I am curious as to when Schmidt released this statement… do you know? Although tech prices are dropping every day, thanks in part to Moore’s Law, I believe it will still be at least 15 years before the entire world has uninterrupted internet access. The graph showing Android activations doesn’t seem to be increasing exponentially, it looks closer to a linear growth. This means that we may see constant increase in smartphone users but not necessarily a surge that would be fast enough to get internet to the entire world in 7 years. I really liked how you set up your blog very visually, and invited a lot of discussion by asking opinionated questions to conclude your post. Great blog!

  2. Great post. I really liked how you broke up the text with pictures. It made it easy to read and the pictures and graphs really supplemented the content of the post. I think that it was a bold statement for him to say but I don’t doubt that everyone will be connected to the internet at some point in the not so distant future. I was one to resist buying a smart phone for a long time and now I can’t imagine not being able to access my email at all points of the day. What I fear is the social implications. People are absolutely glued to their phones and though it is a great way to have access to a lot of information I think it is unhealthy. People need to check their phone right after or during class. It has become an obsession for many people and this obsession is just going to spread. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I thought this was a great post and it made me wonder how software companies that sell cell phones will take part in the process of spreading the internet. It makes sense to me that cell phone companies have great incentives to help make the internet available in third world countries. If there is more internet available, then more users will be able to utilize the benefits of cell phones and thus have more incentives to purchase cell phones. I think that the spread of the internet will complete Globalization 3.0 by in essence connecting all individuals in the world.

  4. This was a very interesting blog post. In my sociology class we are talking about third world countries and how western society has been pushing them to modernize. However, they are experiencing backlash from third world countries about modernizing. Developing countries still want to hold on to their traditions and cultural values. They view modernization as something that would take away from all of that. This leads me to believe that it will take longer than 7 years for the internet to become in regular use across the entire world. Although technology is progressing, in some societies, they are not welcoming it. I agree with Katie that your visual approach to this blog was very helpful. It put all the numbers you talked about into perspective.

  5. It was very bold of Eric Schmidt to say that the entire world will be connected to the internet in 2020. Although it is very likely that this will not happen as some people live and will continue to live without technology, I think his statement makes a point about how large the internet will be in 2020. I believe at that point most people that want will have access to the internet and as you said most of this growth is coming from third world countries and from cell phones. And companies are taking note of this as cell phone companies are working to produce low cost phones that can connect to the internet in order to sell them to the third world countries which from the map shows are very poor and cannot afford our smartphones which costs hundreds of dollars. As the internet becomes more and more important to everything we do it will be interesting to see what it is like in 2020 when “everyone” is connected.

  6. This was a really good post. All of the pictures you used were helpful, interesting, and some were even funny. My favorite was the history of the cell phone. I thought it was amazing how much a phone could possibly change in such a short amount of time (Moore’s Law in action!). You did a really good job of explaining why Google’s chairman made such a bold claim and how it could be close to true. I didn’t expect the cell phone to be the solution. Living in the United States, it seems like the natural progression is to go from a desktop or laptop to a smart phone. However, it seems like it is going to be the opposite in developing countries.

  7. Great Post Bud! I think that it is quite possible for the Internet to cover the whole world by 2020. This is because technologies that will connect us to the internet will only becoming cheaper and more available. It seems that mobile phone IS the way to go for the future development of technological advancement, yet will we see laptop eventually being replaced by mobile devices such as smartphones and Tablets? It is vey exciting to be living in this closely-knitted global community!

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