Talking tech since 2003

I remember my first Internet sessions — it was in mid-1990s, my parents had this big beige Dell tower and massive CRT monitor setup in our basement. I was very fortunate because we had two phone lines in my house which meant I didn’t have to get off the Internet when the phone rang. Anyway, back to my first Internet sessions, once on the desktop I had a few choices: RollerCoaster Tycoon, Freddi the Fish, Oregon Trail, or I could go on the “Internet,” which of course meant clicking on the AOL icon and dialing-in (queue the iconic dial-in noises).

After waiting what sometimes felt like an eternity, I’d be logged into AOL. There were two things I liked doing on the “Internet.” The first: check to see who was online in my buddy list, depending upon who was online, I might chat with some friends for a little or well, at least until they didn’t get kicked off or I was tired of trying to remember where the different keys were. The second: play Slingo.

That was circa 1995, now, 20 years later the Internet has arguably had the biggest impact of all modern inventions. That being said, despite it’s massive impact on a lot of the world, there is still a lot of people who do not have access to the Internet. I really like this visualization put together by SoftwareInsider using data from the Internet Live Stats. The visualization shows the percentage of Internet users by country, or Internet penetration, as of 2014.

Unsurprisingly, the majority of Internet usage is in Western Europe and North America. But if you look at the actual numbers what’s interesting is that leading the charge (in terms of Internet penetration) are three small countries: Bermuda (97.75%), Qatar (96.65%), and Bahrain (96.53%).

In terms of the sheer number of users, China and the United States take first and second place with more than 641 million and 279 million, respectively. Internet users have grown 4% in China from the previous year and 7% in the United States.

Having access to the Internet is super important for everyone. Plus I believe giving Internet access to developing countries will help spur their economies, which is why I’m really excited to see that both Facebook and Google have plans to do just that.

Lastly, if you were curious here are the 10 countries with the lowest Internet penetration. The one thing I look at here though is the percentage of Internet user growth YoY. Some of these countries saw more than 15% growth from 2013 to 2014 which is promising. Meanwhile I’m sitting here typing this post on a Verizon FiOS connection with 150mbit in both directions…

#10. Congo

Population: 4,558,594
Internet penetration: 1.92%
1-year user growth: 16%

#9. Guinea

Population: 12,043,898
Internet penetration: 1.7%
1-year user growth: 16%

#8. Ethiopia

Population: 96,506,031
Internet penetration: 1.7%
1-year user growth: 16%

#7. Niger

Population: 18,534,802
Internet penetration: 1.61%
1-year user growth: 17%

#6. Somalia

Population: 10,805,651
Internet penetration: 1.51%
1-year user growth: 12%

#5. Sierra Leone

Population: 6,205,382
Internet penetration: 1.49%
1-year user growth: 15%

#4. Burundi

Population: 10,482,752
Internet penetration: 1.39%
1-year user growth: 17%

#3. Myanmar

Population: 53,718,958
Internet penetration: 1.16%
1-year user growth: 9%

#2. Timor-Leste

Population: 1,152,439
Internet penetration: 1%
1-year user growth: 10%

#1. Eritrea

Population: 6,536,176
Internet penetration: 0.91%
1-year user growth: 17%

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