The Importance of Internet Access in Africa
The Internet is a spaghetti bowl of connected ISPs, ranging from big national ISPs to smaller regional and local ISPs. These pieces of the Internet act as exchange points for traffic. Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) can be housed in formal buildings, racks, or larger floor space. These providers are often former telephone companies. In the 1980s, IXPs were incorporated into public infrastructure. Internet users can connect their computers to one another to perform tasks.
The internet is a great tool for socializing and connecting with others. E-mail has helped people connect with each other in a way that was previously impossible. The internet also allowed people to connect with each other through social media sites. With so many possibilities, it’s no wonder that so many people use the Internet to share music, movies, and other works. There are both free and fee-based services for all kinds of entertainment, from e-books to movies.
With the rise of social media, consumers have gained greater control over marketing and distribution. They can also review products, influencing retail trade and the economy. The Internet is one of the key factors driving the economy today, and it can foster growth and competitiveness in macroeconomic frameworks. While e-commerce is still in its infancy, it’s proving to be a major force in our economy. Our society is increasingly dependent on the Internet, and we are no longer passive recipients of information.
Internet access has become commonplace in urban areas of certain African countries. Some countries like South Africa and Morocco have more than 50% of their citizens online. Other parts of the continent are fast connecting. The growth in internet access is largely driven by mobile phone use. Mobile broadband costs have decreased 50% in three years. But internet access is far from widespread in rural areas. Tanzania, Uganda, and Sudan are just three of the African countries with low internet penetration. Guinea has only seven to ten percent of its population with no access to the web.
Although the Internet is technically accessible to all people, its availability and affordability depends on the accessibility of the device. Many companies control websites, passwords, software, and content. Several national ISPs treat regional ISPs as just another customer and have peering arrangements with smaller ones. However, these relationships are not always a good thing. This is because the latter can be shut out of a regional ISP if they do not have sufficient funds.
According to the International Telecommunication Union, 89% of the global population is online, according to the World Wide Web Statistics. The remaining nine percent of the population is unconnected. Those who are offline are usually older, less educated, and more rural. Despite the high rate of Internet usage, the West is not the only region advancing in the digital age. China’s internet population is now over 800 million people. And the number of unconnected people is only increasing. In other regions, such as India, only 60 percent of the population is offline.