At the end of 2015, 3.2 billion people were online, up from 3 billion in 2014, according to Facebook's State of Connectivity 2015 report. The report highlights that over the past 10 years, connectivity increased by approximately 200 to 300 million people per year. It attributed the increase partly to more affordable data and rising global incomes in 2014.
While this is positive news in terms of growth, it also means that globally, 4.1 billion people were still not internet users in 2015. Facebook points out four key barriers to internet access;
i. Availability: Proximity of the necessary infrastructure required for access.
ii. Affordability: The cost of access relative to income.
iii. Relevance: A reason for access, such as primary language content.
iv. Readiness: The capacity to access, including skills, awareness and cultural acceptance.
At the sametime, Facebook is collaborating with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University to produce detailed maps showing the population distribution of 20 countries. Population distribution data will help guide Facebook’s Connectivity Lab which develops ways to make affordable internet access possible in communities around the world.