September 2010 – According to recent studies by the International Telecommunications Union, only 10.9 percent of Africa’s population uses the Internet. By contrast, the Internet is used by 77.4 percent of North Americans. Though there are drastic population gaps — the latest census reports estimate the African population at just over 1 billion, while North America’s is around a third of that — Internet access in Africa is extremely expensive and very difficult to find.
But new help is on the way. Newly laid cables along the West African coastline are slated to bring reliability and improved communications to one of the world’s poorest areas. The cables will also lower Internet prices, drawing more consumers.
“It’s the first of a new wave of investment that the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union says will vastly raise the bandwidth available in West Africa by mid-2012,” the Associated Press reported last week. The hope is in another decade, Africa will be at the top of the charts for penetration.