More people going online with data affordability, rising incomes: Facebook

New York, Feb 23 (IANS) Affordable data plans and rising global incomes saw nearly 3.2 billion people going online from desktop to smartphones and ipads in the year 2015 — Up from three billion in 2014 — Facebook’s latest report on global internet access has revealed.

Over the past 10 years, connectivity increased by approximately 200 to 300 million people per year.

“While this is positive news in terms of growth, it also means that globally, 4.1 billion people were still not internet users in 2015,” noted the report titled “State of Connectivity 2015”.

Facebook elucidated four key barriers to internet access — availability of required infrastructure, affordability, that is the cost of access relative to income, relevance, that is a reason for access and readiness, meaning the capacity to access, including skills, awareness and cultural acceptance.

“In order to address the barriers to connectivity, corporations, governments, NGOs and non-profits need to work together to continue gathering more accurate data on the state of global connectivity, and develop global standards for collecting, reporting, and distributing this data,” the report advised.

The data collected would give a greater understanding of how populations are dispersed, so governments and others can prioritise investments in infrastructure, from transportation to healthcare and education.

Population distribution data will also help guide Facebook’s Connectivity Lab.

It will help identify the types of projects to prioritise and support target developments.

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