More clearly than ever before, the last 15 months of pandemic crisis have demonstrated that broadband is not a luxury but a necessity, one that enriches education, improves social mobility, and increases economic growth. In honor of #WorldWifiDay on June 20, we’re offering seven stats that reveal the critical importance of broadband in our lives.
1. Global connectivity: Two-thirds of the global population, or 5.3 billion users, will have internet access by 2023, a huge jump from 51% in 2018. Meanwhile, the number of networked devices is expected to increase from 18 billion to nearly 30 billion over the next three years. That means by 2023 the number of devices will be more than three times the global population!
2. Economic boon: According to a study by the Wi-Fi Alliance, the global economic value of Wi-Fi will increase from $3.3 trillion this year to $4.9 trillion by 2025. From 2018 to 2025, projected growth is expected to be a whopping 150%, demonstrating precisely how important Wi-Fi has become for the world economy.
3. Increased speeds: In 2008, only 15% of American households had speeds of 10 megabits per second. Today, a full 80% of households have access to gigabit speeds (1 gigabit = 1,000 megabits). In addition to providing greater security, capacity, reliability, and lower latency, today’s speeds will continue to increase as broadband providers build towards a 10G future that will unlock many new technologies.
4. Decreased costs: While internet speeds have gone up, costs have come down—allowing more people to take advantage of this vital service. In the United States, for instance, the cost per megabit in 2000 was $28. Only 20 years later, the cost plummeted to $0.64: a 98% decrease. Meanwhile, the average broadband price dropped from $62 in 2015 to $46 in 2020, even as speeds have continued to increase exponentially.
5. Future growth: The economic benefits of Wi-Fi will be further augmented by the arrival of 10G which, according to a study by Telecom Advisory Services, will create some 676,000 jobs in the United States over seven years and boost total economic output by $330 billion dollars. 10G will also set off an explosion of smart technology which will revolutionize the home and workplace.
6. Broadband in critical times: Broadband has become so integrated in our lives that it’s hard to imagine life without it. According to Pew Research, 87% of Americans say that the internet has been important for them personally during the pandemic, while 53% describe it as essential. In general, 90% of Americans believe the internet has been good for them personally, while 78% feel it has had a beneficial impact on society.
7. Resilience of Service: The pandemic produced a steep increase in online traffic: internet service providers reported an increase of 40% in use during peak business hours while video-conferencing services experienced spikes of as much as 300%. But thanks to $172 billion in investment by the broadband providers over the last 10 years, including 1.7 million miles of fiber and coaxial cable laid, networks nationwide passed the stress test during the biggest global crisis in decades.
World Wi-Fi day is an excellent opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, and also to participate in initiatives to ensure everyone has the opportunity to reap the benefits of the internet. As speeds increase and prices continue to fall, it is fundamental to ensure that our networks expand to those who most need them. Visit our infrastructure campaign page to support closing the digital divide and getting America 100% connected.