Families living outside big cities or in rural areas got Internet access only 7-8 years ago. They used to have satellite Internet, which was expensive. Some of the companies providing satellite Internet services used to cover parts of their areas with cell service for a while. The situation is quite common now in developing and rural areas all over the globe. The omnipresence of cell service is probably the solution for making internet access possible for a majority of people all over the world.
Developments in Rural telecommunication
The 2010 World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report of the International Telecommunications Union reveals that 90 percent of the world’s population lives in areas covered by cell networks. The ITU says that 95 percent of the rural areas in developed countries have cell coverage. About 75 percent of rural areas have cell coverage in developing countries. The situation is worse in Africa, where only 50 percent of the rural areas are covered by cell service. However, these figures have seen a significant 20 percent growth since the reference year 2003.
The figures presented in the report are contrasting with only a quarter of the globe’s population having Internet access. In developing countries, some factors are generating this situation. The lack of electricity, the price of computers which are too high for people in these areas, as well as the high price of internet access prevent many families from getting access to the internet. At the same time, all these factors express the need for access points in those local communities. It is a fact that people in some developing countries use internet in public locations, according to ITU. This is true especially in the case of Latin America. Internet in public locations is also used extensively in developed countries.
The ITU wants 50 percent of the world’s population to have access to the internet by 2015, a goal possible to be achieved only if wired broadband was used. The ITU observed with surprise that mobile telephony is more and more present around the world. This fact encourages the Union in their project along with the presence of cellular signal in such wide areas being a helping factor.
The report outlines that every country should take advantage of this situation to provide high-speed internet access and make available more 3G networks in places where they are not yet present. The monitoring of the percentage of population having access to 3G mobile cellular signal is also required by the ITU report.
The responsibility belongs to the policy-makers, according to ITU. The Union insists that they should continue to develop internet-based societies and also provide content made in local languages available for wide communities on-line. According to the report, developing user-friendly applications affordable for many people, meant to be used by citizens and local communities as well, is the key factor for growing internet use and succeeding to reach the final goal of building an informational society.