The internet, in a nutshell, is a global network of interconnected devices (servers, computers, etc ). The Internet is indispensable in the 21st century and is part and parcel of our ultra modern society. It is the founding basis of great businesses like Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, Amazon and many others. From business, IT, cloud computing, information and social media, the internet is omnipresent. The importance of the internet in the 21st century can not be overemphasized. It’s impossible to think of what the world will look like without the internet. Most of our technology is built to make optimum use of the internet to extend features and functions. A country like South Korea has made a name as the country with the fastest internet connection.
The internet has become so common these days, so much so that no one thinks it’s a hi-tech anymore. It will take a whole textbook to tell the history of the Internet, its development, and benefits. Let’s instead look at internet usage, speeds and countries with the fastest internet connection. Gamers will understand better the importance of good internet connection, especially during online gaming.
Internet penetration rates
The Internet is today a necessity and no longer a luxury as some couple of decades ago. Today, even objects have their own “social media”, the internet of things. With all the good of the internet, internet connection should not be a problem anywhere in the world. This is unfortunately not the case. There are parts of the world (under developed and developing) where internet connection itself is still a problem, not to talk of speeds. Either it’s too expensive or not present at all. And other parts (especially in the developed world) where internet connection is not even spoken of because is part of the society. In this regions, we have countries with the fastest internet connection in the world.
Going by regions, North America is the highest connected region in the world with 88% internet penetration. It is followed by Western Europe with 84% internet penetration rate according to Statista. These regions also boast some of the fastest internet connection speeds in the world. Mobile phones are the most used platform for internet access. Smartphones sales are on the rise, this should encourage this tendency for the foreseeable future. To make things better, 37% percent of the world population will own a smartphone by 2020. According to Statista, 65% of mobile phones users will access the internet through phones by 2019.
Global internet usage
Internet connection is of utmost importance for any country that wants to develop or stay at the forefront of technology. Be it the economy, technology, society, everything has something to do with the internet. The number of internet users worldwide is on the rise as more people have access networks. As of March 2017, according to Statista, China had the highest number of internet users in the world with over 731 million internet users. This is no surprise as China given China’s fast growth, more and more people need to be connected. The fact the China is the biggest smartphone market in the world also helps. China is however not among the countries with the fastest internet connection in the world.
Next is India with over 462 million internet users, but this number is forecast to reach 636 by 2021. Just like China, India has a large number of internet users but is nowhere near the top of the list of countries with the fastest internet connection. Then comes the US with about 287 million internet users. The US, on the other hand, does better and appears on the top ten list of countries with the fastest internet connection. All these are just observations. I have no proof that the number of internet users has anything to do with connection speed. Instead, if anything, China and India are still developing in infrastructure and should pick up soon.
Internet penetration and use is still slow
According to recent reports, there are about 3.49 Billion internet users worldwide. But this number is very unevenly distributed. Regions like Africa and the Middle East account for the smallest number of internet users. These can be explained by either social instability or economic difficulties. In Africa, many countries are investing a lot into the digital economy. More efforts in that light should boost the number of users in Africa in the coming years. As of now, Nigeria is the only African country with over 50 million internet users. But its connection speed will not place it on the list of countries with the fastest internet connection.
Asia has the highest number of internet users with about 1.8 Billion users. Yet the internet penetration rate in this region is very low. East Asia which accounts for a large part of Asia’s internet users has only 57% internet penetration in 2016. The global internet penetration rate stood at 49% in 2016 and should increase to 51.5 by 2019. Android which controls the mobile OS market is the most used mobile OS for internet access. The number of internet users worldwide is forecast to keep growing for the foreseeable future. The availability of cheap mobile phones in China and India from local smartphone manufacturers should boost internet connectivity.
Countries with fastest internet connection
Internet speed is of great concern these days as many internet based activities require high-speed internet. Though internet speeds are pretty good in the developed world, there are some countries with exceptional internet connection speeds. South Korea tops the list of countries with fastest internet connection with 28.6 Mbps. This is 9.3% increase from last year. other countries like Norway, Sweden and Hong Kong follow with 23.5, 22.5 and 21.9Mbps respectively. These countries also have high internet penetration rates. South Korea, for example, has a penetration rate of about 89.4%. The global average internet connection speeds have increased from 4Mbps to 7Mbps. But this far below that of the US which is 10th in the list of countries with the fastest internet connection. The US has 18.7 average internet connection speed.