|4.2 BILLION PEOPLE ARE STILL OFFLINE|
Aruba, October 13, 2015 - There are currently 4.2 billion people -- 57% of the world -- who are still offline on a regular basis, according to the United Nations Broadband Commission. Overall growth in internet access is expected to slump down from 8.6% in 2014 to 8.1% in 2015.
How's that possible when every teenager is texting at the dinner table and colleagues communicate through IM even when they're across the room?
Around 70% of mobile and fixed subscriptions are concentrated in these two regions: Asia-Pacific and the Americas.
Even though the report estimates that 60% of the world population should be online by 2021, the gap between the richer and poorer nations will most likely remain wide unless policy efforts are made to bridge that gap.
Less developed countries have not adopted the internet with the same enthusiasm. Growing audiences in linguistically diverse areas, such as Africa, India and Southeast Asia, still proves to be a challenge. Most of the world's languages are not not represented online.
The internet mostly caters to those who understand the Latin "a to z" text and digits "0 to 9." Over half the websites are in English. European languages -- Spanish, French, German -- and Japanese are used in less than 5% of websites. Many national languages like Swahili and Hindi appear in less than 0.1% of websites.
Facebook (FB, Tech30) recently used 100,000 Wikipedia pages for a study and found that only 53% of the world has access to Wikipedia knowledge in their local language. The social network concluded that another 40 languages need to be added so 80% of the world can access relevant content.
A multilingual Web is the only way many people will be able to access, understand and use content available on the internet.
On the surface, it seems difficult to set up infrastructure in more rural, less densely populated areas. But internet companies have much to benefit from connecting people.
After all, internet is still a largely for-profit service. The paper suggests that countries must establish a national broadband plan and introduce affordable internet to get more people online.