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Meaningful Connectivity: A new measure for internet access

Web Foundation · February 28, 2022

Teddy Woodhouse, Senior Research Manager and research lead on the Meaningful Connectivity report, shares key takeaways from the report.


The digital divide now is no longer just about who’s online and offline.

 It’s now about who is  just consuming information, and who is an active participant in digital society.

Our latest research talks about the boundary between meaningful connectivity and basic internet access. What is meaningful connectivity? It’s having a smartphone with 4G-like speeds for your internet connection and an unlimited access point at home, work or place of study, and being able to use the internet on a day to day basis. 

Our report reveals shockingly low numbers for meaningful connectivity in nine low and middle income countries across the globe. 

For example, in Rwanda, where official estimates say one in five people are using the internet, the numbers for meaningful connectivity are as low as one for every 160 people in that country. 

We see that there are even bigger divides across the lines of gender and geography, meaning that women and people living in rural areas face harder barriers and are less likely to have meaningful experiences through the internet access that they do have. 

We need to do better. And that’s about closing the gaps that exist throughout the world, providing meaningful connectivity to more people and building the foundations for inclusive and resilient digital economies throughout the globe. 

We look forward to working with our partners to make meaningful connectivity the new target for internet access across the globe.

Read the 2022 Meaningful Connectivity report to find out more.

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