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State of Connectivity 2016: Using Data to Move Towards a More Inclusive Internet

By Robert Pepper, Head of Global Connectivity Policy and Planning, and Molly Jackman, Public Policy Research Manager

Internet access drives economic opportunity and enables the free exchange of data and information. It provides tools to address some of our biggest global challenges, including delivering education and healthcare, sourcing clean water, increasing energy efficiency, and making government more effective and responsive to the needs of its citizens. Connectivity is not just a by-product of progress – it is a crucial enabler.

But connectivity alone will not help people realize the full benefits of the internet. A truly inclusive internet must be widely available, affordable, and allow usage that promotes positive social and economic outcomes.

Before we can achieve an inclusive internet, we first need to identify and address the gaps in availability, affordability, relevance, and readiness. In an effort to do that, Facebook commissioned The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to create a comprehensive index of Internet Inclusion for 75 countries. The Index contains 46 indicators for each of the 75 countries organized across four categories: Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness. We hope this new data will help move us closer to an inclusive internet by informing the design, implementation, and evaluation of internet policies across the public and private sectors.

This is a first step towards creating an open data commons that addresses connectivity and use of the internet.

We understand that data only becomes valuable when it is converted into actionable insights. That’s why Internet.org asked The EIU to produce a series of briefings that highlight key takeaways across countries and regions.

Key findings in the Inclusive Internet Index report include:

This first report will be the basis for more detailed and comprehensive analysis covering more countries moving forward. We invite everyone to conduct and share their own analyses and contribute data to this effort. We hope that as a broader community, we can create an accurate and comprehensive dataset on global internet access, use, and benefits in order to foster evidenced-based decision-making that will move us closer to a truly inclusive and connected world.

The full Inclusive Internet Index can be accessed at: theinclusiveinternet.eiu.com