Friday, 29 February 2008

The Ugly Reality of Internet

I recently added in my blog a little map (see on the right side) provided by ClustrMaps Ltd which shows the location of the poeple reading or ending-up on your website.

This is very nice and it is done by geo-locating the IP address of the reader.

I have a non frequented blog but I believe that this map kind of perfectly shows the poeple from the countries who have embraced Internet.
They are the guys using Internet daily at work.

The analysis is interesting as you are kind of being hit in the face by the reality.
Indeed you can see that the dominant areas are again the rich countries: The US, then Europe and the rest of the anglo-saxons countries such as South-Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Then you see few spots in India, China, Russia, ... These are mostly the emerging countries that have not completely filled the technological gap with the western countries.

For Japan, it might be different as the problem is probably the English and the fact that they kind of have built there parallel internet and mobile network in japanese.
Anyway, Internet is probably the definite victory of English over the other language's contenders (apart Chinese maybe) and to follow the Internet trends, you've got to speak english.

At the end, this map is very sad because Africa is totally absent of the map and not represented at all.

Another point is that Internet seems to only be present in cities and not in rural areas.
Or is it that poeple leaving near the wild mother nature still have better things to do than read dummy articles on technicalities :-)

Let me know what are your thoughts on that ?

34 comments:

  1. What's "ugly" about this? You seem to imply that successful societies are somehow to blame for the failed ones.

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  2. It is ugly for me because I saw Internet as a way to change the world by linking people from different regions in the world. Therefore giving a possibility for the poor countries to enter the game and possibly get a bigger slice of the 'profits' cake.
    But this map shows that nothing happened for the developing countries and it seems to me that it is giving more weapons to the developed countries to become richer and increase the gap between the poor and rich.

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  3. Normally, I don't respond to blog posts, but I am browsing from Africa, so I can give you a hint as to why the continent doesn't have many hits from here.

    The internet is important, but it is a luxury. It can cost 70USD to get a 68-128kbps connection (shared too so forget about speed). There is GPRS for mobile, but you'll be lucky to go above 5kbps. Not that this is true for every location, but there are bigger problems for most people daily than getting on the internet.

    Things change fast though, so I pray that the infrastructure here gets better :-)

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  4. Hi! Interesting analysis.

    The fact that you don't see spots in rural areas might not mean that there is no Internet user in these areas. Of course, demography repartition reduces the chances of getting hits from rural areas compared to urban area.

    But the reason might simply be that IP geolocation services generally use the Internet provider's declared street address to determine the location of the IP. ISPs have "bought" a set range of IPs that they distribute dynamically (using DHCP) to their clients. Since these businesses can't set their installations in rural areas (as they need to be close to an Internet backbone connection point, among other reasons).

    This fact had become an evidence for me, as I am in Quebec City and my Internet provider has it's main office in Montreal. Thus, these services always geolocate me 300 kilometers away from the place I actually am, even though my regional connection to the backbone is most probably 3 blocks away.

    So you can't assume these informations are precise. But on a larger scale, your analysis stays 100% pertinent.

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  5. Interesting perspective Guillaume. Several humble views that I have on this.

    You are spot on about how the map highlights the fact the developing countries are still left out of the loop!

    An African rural person's perspective is very simple...for everyday when they wake, they are concerned only about few basic things...good health, shelter and food to sustain their lives. They rarely think about what is happening between them...they can't even fathom the intricacies of a television or internet access.

    They are happy and grateful to have another day on earth to share with their families.

    On the other hand, ofcourse due to the expensie of the internet backbone imposed on developing countries, the local people can vbarely affored a 64kbps/128kbps as this costs roughly $250/month in Uganda excluding the basic costs of a router, modem, satelite or whatever it is that they are using to connect to the internet.

    More than half of the population in Uganda earns way less than $250 so they will not be seeing internet anytime soon!

    On the brighter side, there is a project that has been going on for a long time -where they are laying a fiber optic backbone along the cost of Africa. This should give a cheaper option to Africans...as the ISP tarrifs will be reduced therefore clients will be charged less.

    The most popular connections at the moment in Uganda is wireless because the city kampala, let alone the country is sort of hilly and lots of trees blocking the link.

    Needless to say, your little map gives one lots of food for thought!

    from your african neighbor in the office

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