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.