World Internet Population: Reading the fine print

Post ImageYesterday comScore released their global Internet traffic rankings for the month of May. Their research shows that 772 million people worldwide were online in May, which is a pretty large number. Still, as ZDNet notes, that’s only 12 percent of the world’s population. Here’s how the press release reads:

There were 772 million people online worldwide in May (defined as those individuals age 15 or older who accessed the Internet from a home or work location in the last 30 days), an increase from 766 million in April, representing a 16 percent penetration of the worldwide population of individuals age 15 or older.

And further down the page, we find the fine print:

** Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.

Seems to me that excluding mobile phones in particular would lead to a much lower number than the true online population. In the developed world, computers dominate access to the Internet, but that’s not the case in the developing world!

A quick search led me to this W3C press release (from September 2006):

According to the World Bank, more than two billion people own a mobile phone and 80% of the world’s population has access to GSM service. With one million new subscribers every day, almost four billion people will have a mobile phone by the end of 2010.

I suspect the vast majority of those phones are web-enabled. If anyone has a link to usage statistics, let me know in the comments!

Read: comScore

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