According to WEF’ s White Paper Internet for All – A Framework for Accelerating Internet Access and Adoption, there are four essential categories imposing barriers to the greater use of Internet: infrastructure; affordability; skills, awareness and cultural acceptance; and local adoption and use. Defining the strengths and weaknesses for each region regarding these dimensions can be very useful for pointing out and proposing policies for technological improvement.
Some key points that arise from the report include the fact that:
Infrastructure is a big hurdle for many countries, especially those that are poor or with large rural or remote populations. Many developing markets require massive investment to move up to more advanced mobile technologies.
Affordability remains a major constraint for the almost 13% of people worldwide who live below the international poverty line, and for those who find devices and access too expensive or do not perceive sufficient value for money from internet use.
Research shows that a lack of skills and awareness is one of the greatest barriers to internet adoption and use. Cultural acceptance can also be an impediment. In many countries, basic literacy is a problem, but even in more developed countries, the lack of awareness of the internet’ s value among non-users remains a huge hurdle.
Digital ecosystems that produce local content and apps are vital for building digital literacy, attracting local users and serving local needs. Digital services can also address local problems and boost competition in an increasingly international digital services market. In addition, using the internet can have a significant impact on local businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Moreover, a representative map depicting the population not using the Internet is also presented in this White Paper, illustrating a high level of concentration around the Africa and South Asia region.
You can read the full WEF White Paper here.