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Technology 7 July 2015

How We Connect: Mobile is shifting the Internet dynamic

Kathryn Brown
By Kathryn BrownFormer President / CEO

In the earliest days of the Internet, connectivity was limited to researchers and developers at academic institutions and government research facilities in the United States. Today, the Internet has evolved into a cornerstone of economic and social development that has an immeasurable impact on individuals’ daily lives around the world.

More than three billion people globally are online, and the mobile Internet offers hundreds of millions their primary, if not only, means of accessing the Internet. At the Internet Society, we believe the Internet is for everyone, and it seems certain that mobile holds the promise of Internet connectivity for the next billion people.

The Internet is arguably the most transformative technology of our time. It has resulted in tremendous changes in how we learn, buy, work and play. It has shifted markets, politics and societies. The reason the Internet has been so transformative is that it allows for unfettered connectivity between users and enables anyone, anywhere to come up with the next big idea.

The rise of mobile will unleash the creativity and innovation of a whole new generation of Internet citizens, which will benefit all of us. Understanding the mobile Internet environment that these new users will encounter is essential to enhancing the technology standards and governance of the Internet. To further this discussion, today we released a study on the mobile Internet – The Global Internet Report 2015, authored by Michael Kende, our Chief Economist.

The report is a fascinating exploration into the implications of mobile’s increasingly important role in Internet connectivity, covering mobile Internet availability, affordability, and relevance to potential users, and highlighting the opportunities as well as challenges to ensure all users can enjoy the full benefits of mobile access to the open Internet.

If the next billion are coming online as a result of mobile, then it is incumbent upon us to make sure that the technology does not limit them in any way. In particular, the mobile Internet should remain open to enable the permission-less innovation that has driven the continuous growth and evolution of the Internet to date, including the emergence of the mobile Internet itself.

We celebrate the profound impact of the mobile Internet in dramatically increasing the speed of Internet deployment. This is the Internet of opportunity and everyone should be included in the promise and possibilities created by the Internet.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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