the subject of this earlier post) I had occasion to ask them the following question. Why does the big difference between Korea or Japan and many African nations (e.g. Korea 54 Mbps, Tanzania 4.2 Mbps) in average internet download speed matter? Put otherwise, why is the difference important? The discussion that followed, along with several alerts that arrived in my e-mail this morning, prompted this post.
The McKinsey Group, using World Bank Data, recently published a blog post and a longer white paper entitled Offline and falling behind: Barriers to Internet adoption. The study suggests that there are four categories of consumer-facing barriers to Internet adoption, grouped as 1) incentives, 2)low incomes and affordability, 3)user capacity and 4)infrastructure. On the important topic of network infrastructure, this is one of the first studies I've seen that explicitly acknowledges the important relationship between fixed and mobile networks. As shown in an exhibit from the study (click to see a full-sized version of the graphic above) fixed broadband penetration is significantly higher in developed nations than in the developing ones. Measured by household penetration, South Korea leads the world, and by a considerable margin over my home country, the U.S.A.