Researchers are predicting that one quarter of the world’s population will be online by 2012.
Most growth is, as you might already have guessed, to take place in the emerging regions of Asia, like China and India.
This figure is stunning if you consider that about one third of the world’s population does not have access to clean, running water nor sufficient food. One fourth does not have access to electricity.
Do we expect them to order their nutrition online?
Besides our, in my opinion, wrong order of priorities, the internet access itself won’t do much harm to the population in those regions. Actually quite the contrary. It will help to them to develop higher standards of free speech and information. Not even the Great Firewall of China can shield the citizens from all of the information.
More Users on the other hand, of course, pose problems in the technical point of view.
The transition from IPv4 to IPv6 is progressing slowly and upcoming traffic from our new online buddies need to be handled as well. Internet infrastructure needs more and faster upgrades to keep up with the rising demand and usage.
Do you remember what happened when several undersea cables failed earlier this year? A big part of South Asia and the Middle East was cut off the internet. The more people get online and will start to rely on the web, the more it will hurt them if they’re offline. Not only economically.