World Wi-Fi Day: Why better connection is key to economic growth

June 20, 2018 7:37 pm

Sign for Free Wi Fi on glass window public transport bus, Suffolk, England, UK

Today (June 20) it’s World Wi-Fi Day and when it comes to internet penetration the Middle East is leading the way, but much more still needs to be done to ensure growth.

Here in the Middle East, as of March 2017, internet penetration stood at 56.4 percent, Statista reports. That’s 7.2 per cent above the global average of 49.2 percent.

And these numbers are expected to rise, with 53.7 percent globally having internet connectivity by 2021.

Impressive figures, indeed, but that leaves, according to the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), an estimated four billion people without access to the internet.

Economic imperative

Internet connectivity is not just an essential tool for people and business to ‘stay connected’, it’s an economic imperative: a necessity for nations that are looking to build and grow their economies in the digital age.

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Nick Watson, VP EMEA at wireless networking company Ruckus Networks, says: “The importance of connectivity cannot be understated and the utility of Wi-Fi as a robust, high-speed and cost-effective manner of achieving this makes it the perfect vehicle for digitally transforming economies and societies across the developed and developing world.

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“We have always understood the importance of Wi-Fi to projects which make a difference to people’s lives, like smart city deployments and connected living spaces.”

Room to grow

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index, globally, total public Wi-Fi hotspots will grow sevenfold from 2015 to 2020, from 64.2 million in 2015 to 432.5 million by 2020.

WBA’s annual industry report reveals that approximately 80 percent of respondents believe they will deploy Next Gen Wi-Fi by 2020, driven by the need to improve quality of experience, reduce churn, and provide seamless access between Wi-Fi networks, and between Wi-Fi and licensed networks.

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Amidst all this growth, governments also need to advance their infrastructures to ensure that more people are brought under the internet umbrella.

As a recent study commissioned by the Wi-Fi Alliance reveals, in just two years Wi-Fi networks around the world will need access to significantly more mid-band spectrum than is currently available in the 5 GHz range to satisfy expected growth in Wi-Fi data traffic.



Alkesh Sharma
By Alkesh Sharma