The internet is a lot like the universe - nobody really knows how big it is, and it will keep on expanding all the time. It seems bizarre to think that, two decades ago, only a handful of people had internet access.
Reports from the year 2000 suggest that only half the population of the US was online, and even fewer were enjoying the internet across the world. Nobody has the exact figures, but it's estimated that a mere 7% of the world was online back then.
Naturally, the world has undergone a significant transformation in the last twenty years. If you compare modern technology to technology in the early 2000s, it's crazy how far we've come. As a result, the current number of people using the internet has skyrocketed.
59% of the world is online
The most recent data from October 2020 suggests that a whopping 59% of the world uses the internet. That amounts to 4.66 billion active users every single day. When you compare this to 7% in 2000, it's clear that the internet has grown beyond most people's comprehension.
What has caused this increased growth in daily internet users? If you take a step back and review the last two decades, you'll notice a couple of key trends that might answer this question.
Improved internet coverage
In the early days of the internet, people could only get online with a dial-up connection. This wasn't very strong, and you could only access the internet if you had a good enough connection in your area. As the years have progressed, we've seen numerous developments in internet technology.
The introduction of broadband has made internet access a lot better in lots of areas of the world. Then, you have the more recent introduction of fibre-optic broadband, which improves internet connections and coverage even more.
Effectively, it is now much easier for most people to establish a working internet connection in the modern world. Even people living in remote country homes will have access to the internet. Thus, it's easy to see why so many people are now online.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the rise in internet users is the growth of mobile technology. Before, you could only access the internet via a computer. This had to be either a desktop PC or a laptop.
Now, you have a phone in your pocket that connects you to the internet whenever you like. The same goes for tablets, and you can even throw things like games consoles and smart devices into the mix.
Simply put, there are more ways for people to get online than there used to be. This has also led to the installation of free WiFi in many public places, making it even easier to get online.
In conclusion, there are 4.66 billion active internet users every single day, as per October 2020. This is a dramatic increase from twenty years ago, and it's set to get even bigger.
The world depends on the internet for just about everything, meaning more places are being introduced to it. If we revisit this article in a year, it will be interesting to see how much that figure has increased.