Home internet access surprisingly rare in many countries

by Ray Clancy on January 18, 2013

Home internet access surprisingly rare in many countries

Would be expats, especially those who will rely on good internet access to carry out their work and business, might want to check if the country they are moving to has good access. Expats also rely heavily on the internet to stay in touch with family and friends but a new survey shows that access various considerably even within countries with generally good internet connectivity.

While internet access worldwide is increasing, just 32% of adults in 2011 reported having home internet access, according to Gallup surveys conducted in 148 countries. This is up from 29% in 2010 and 25% in 2009 and was in response to a core Gallup question; Does your home have access to the internet? The pollster says that it is important to note that these results reflect the percentage of adults who answered yes, rather than the percentage of households in a given country with internet access.

Additionally, it is possible that adults have access to the Internet through other means, including schools and universities, public libraries, Internet cafes, and smartphones. In the case of smartphones, it is possible some respondents consider this home internet access while others do not.

Access is highest in Sweden and Singapore with 93% of residents in both countries reporting that they have home internet access, followed by Denmark at 92% and the Netherlands at 91%. The world’s largest economy, the United States, is 23rd on the list, with 80% of adults reporting internet access. Japan and Germany, the third and fourth largest economies, are close behind at 73% and 77%, respectively.

The world’s second largest economy, China, falls in an entirely different category, with just 34% reporting home internet access. Among the other emerging economies Russia and Brazil are on the higher end at 51% and 40%, while South Africa and India are on the lower end at 16% and 3%, respectively. African countries have the poorest home internet access – in Burundi, Guinea, Mali, and Madagascar it is less than 1%. Yemen, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Haiti are also among the countries where home internet access remains rare.

Quote from ExpatForum.com : “I am considering a bicycle trip throughout India. Because of some situations going on back home, I would need to be able to exchange email in the afternoon through my iPhone or other mobile device as well as get quick access to broadband connection such as WIFI or LAN in the afternoon and evenings Indian time.”

Gallup says that a nation’s home internet access coverage, or lack thereof, has implications for that population’s economic strength and wellbeing as well as the global economy. ‘The more people who have internet access in their homes, the more likely they are to have easy, around the clock access to consume news and information, and in some cases, to sell and buy goods online,’ it says in its report.

‘Home internet access also has implications for education, the productivity of workers, and the civic engagement of citizens. Home internet access provides students with access to critical materials for education, workers with ways to stay connected and productive during hours away from their place of business, and all citizens with news and resources they can use to learn and connect with others,’ it explains.

However, it points out that mobile phones are helping to fill the void in many countries and will be increasingly likely to do so as access to smartphones and tablet devices powered by mobile phone networks continues to increase worldwide. Still, additional Gallup research in sub-Saharan Africa has found that income is a key indicator of both mobile phone ownership and internet access. As such, economic development more broadly is the key to expanding home internet access worldwide.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michelle February 15, 2013 at 5:17 am

Also be aware that even if you ask expats if the Internet is good & they say, "yes", it may not be so.

That was the FIRST question I asked when researching Panama & I was told it was good.

I came here, & had nothing but problems with 2 different companies. I lived in 6 different places in 2 different areas & the first place was okay, but when the owner used his computer for certain things, I couldn't get a good connection.

This house I'm in now is ok, but it didn't start off that way. I went through hell for 8 months straight.

There's a monopoly here.

That's also not the only issue. In these 3rd world countries (I really didn't know Panama was considered a 3rd world country), they are very very uneducated, or have NO common sense. The techis at the ISP here have no clue what I'm talking about 99% of the time. Even if they understood me which they don't, getting something fixed could take them 1-2 weeks whereas if it was someone else in North America, it would take them 15-30 minutes.

I'm smarter than they are & I'm not a techie or a geek, but I am a nettie & netrepreneur & have been around the block many times with ISPs even back home.

The difference with back home, is that you can go up the ladder until you find someone who is smart. Here you can't. I even spoke to a manager who worked in the US & spoke fluent English & he was also clueless I found out afterward.

Also if you have issues back home, they will give you a credit. While I got credits initially, they stopped giving them to me & when I fought them through the government agency that overseas public services, twice they sided with the ISP claiming I had no evidence.

So even my 20 page document & all my speed tests & stories couldn't get through the corruption in this country & I was told they have a MOUNTAIN of complaints against Cableonda.

I wasted my time & I lost money.

I can't work on jobs that require a clean phone line, b/c their upload speed here is terrible & their ping is terrible. I didn't even know what a ping was until I moved here LOL Back home who cares about a ping, b/c the quality of the service is good. Here it's terrible just like everything else.

They don't even know what a ping is. They don't even know what a blacklist is. My IP address is constantly on the blacklist b/c they allow their customers to spam. There's a lot of spamming that comes out of Panama.

The IP address being blocked doesn't just affect my e-mails not being received by other companies, but also the sites I visit can block me. That's happened to me before.

I've NEVER EVER in all my years been unable to e-mail someone or visit a site.

Again, they are clueless when I talk to them. It's like talking to a child, so I have to find someone else to help me from the US & spent countless hours figuring out how to get back onto that site.

Not only that, even if your Internet is working, don't forget about electricity. The electricity here is TERRIBLE & it's called DIRTY ELECTRICITY. It will ruin most if not all of your electrical devices, so you have to have UPSs for everything. And clearly you can't work with your Internet if you don't have electricity. You could be in the middle of a meeting, job interview, etc. & suddenly you are gone.

These are things you have to consider, b/c if Panama is bad, how good could the other LA countries be, although I've heard that CR is better with their ISP, but who knows.

The expats who told me the Internet is good either live in a much better area (every neighborhood is different, every area is different, or they aren't on the net 24/7 like I am, they don't use a VoIP line which requires a clean ping.

Most expats here will make do with 1 DL. I can't. I'm a professional. I don't just use the net to talk to my kids.

So if you are thinking about moving to one of these countries & you rely upon the net for your work or biz, think VERY seriously if you want to go thru this stress.



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