Carriers looking for business growth still have plenty of opportunity in raw connectivity, as only 40% of the world's population has ever connected to the Internet, according to a report this week from Internet.org, which is sponsored by Facebook.
Still, by early this year, 3 billion people will be connected to the Internet.
That's an awful lot of cat videos.
As you'd expect, developing countries are disproportionately represented among the unconnected. Only 32% of the population of emerging economies is connected. But there's also room for growth in the developed world, where 78% of the population is online, according to the report.
The Internet adoption rate is slowing, according to the report. The rate of growth declined for the fourth consecutive year to just 6.6% in 2014, down from 14.7% in 2010. At present rates of decelerating growth, Internet adoption won't reach 4 billion people until 2019.
Ninety percent of the world lives within range of a mobile signal -- they just need to connect. To get the whole world online, issues such as affordability and awareness need to be addressed, according to the report.
The findings are from "State of Connectivity: A Report on Global Internet Access," which looks at the state of Internet penetration and barriers to further growth. The report is issued by Internet.org.
Founded in 2013, Internet.org's mission is to connect the majority of the world's population that's not online. It's sponsored by Facebook, with participation from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), MediaTek Inc. (Taiwan: 2454), Opera Software ASA , Samsung Corp. , Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) (See Facebook Et Al Aim to Bridge Digital Divide.)
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, will discuss efforts to connect more people in a session with mobile operators at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, March 2 at 12:00 p.m. ET (9:00 a.m. PT).
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