Rural Areas and the Internet

The vast majority of those living in developed countries have access to the Internet. Just short of 4 billion people in the world as a whole, however, have no such access to this technology, most of them residing in poor, rural areas of developing countries. Of the 940 million people in the least developed countries, for example, only 89 million use the Internet, a penetration rate of just 9.5%. For reasons that have to do with differences in costs, skills, and infrastructure, the spread of the Internet in rural areas of the world is far inferior to that of the mobile phone (Figure 1). Yet if the former is more difficult to diffuse than the latter, it does, at the same time, frequently also offer ...

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