Report: More than 2.2 billion people living in cities have no broadband access

  • 57% of world’s population are urban unconnected, with 37% of these people living in some of the world’s wealthiest cities
  • World Wi-Fi Day to focus government and industry minds on connecting the unconnected across developed and emerging economies

An independent research study commissioned by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, to mark the inaugural launch of World Wi-Fi Day, reveals the extent of the digital divide that exists globally – most notably in some of the world’s largest cities.

Some of the main findings and conclusions:

  • A staggering 57% of world’s urban population remains unconnected, either with fixed or mobile broadband. That represents more than 2.2 billion people living in cities across the world.
  • More than a third of the unconnected urban population (37%) lives in some of the world’s wealthiest cities.
  • The region with the highest proportion of urban unconnected is Middle East and Africa with 82% or 515 million unconnected citizens.
  • Europe and North America remain the regions with the lowest proportions of urban broadband unconnected, with 17% and 23% respectively.
  • Large, sophisticated cities are still lagging behind in terms of broadband penetration. Los Angeles and Shanghai are good examples with more than 25% of their population unconnected, together totaling almost 10 million citizens.
  • An important segment of the population inside large cities are being left out of the digital age, either because they cannot afford the service or because the service is simply not available in their neighborhood.
  • Affordability and social inequality represent the primary obstacles to urban connectivity.

The full whitepaper with more detailed results can be found here.

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Download the summary of the Research Report

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