There are things people just don’t want to live without: wine, good TV, and sex.
But we've still decided that Wi-Fi wins—at least for working people attached to their devices. A new survey released today by iPass, an international Wi-Fi company, found that a plurality of mobile professionals surveyed globally needed Wi-Fi in their lives more than sex, alcohol or chocolate.
It’s important to note that iPass literally sells Wi-Fi. But their survey of 1,500 people points out that internet connectivity is no longer viewed as a luxury item. It has become a necessity—part of the basic human rights now promised by politicians to citizens across the world.
Even in the private sector, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg tapped into that need when he launched his Internet.org project. Much of the world’s population does not have access to the internet, so regions that could benefit from quicker communication and streamlined organization are left without this advantage.
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Currently, that digital divide is still stark. About 75 percent of Americans are internet users, according to the World Bank, with Asian and White people more likely to have access than their Black and Latino counterparts. Meanwhile, only 18 percent of the people in Rwanda and Pakistan are using the internet—which also means they have less access to world news, current events, and education tools.
“The internet is essential to growing the knowledge we have and sharing it with each other,” Internet.org’s mission statement reads. “And for many of us, it’s a huge part of our everyday lives. But most of the world does not have access to the internet.”
While internet is not always seen as a right, it’s definitely a selling point. Surveys done by hotel company Red Roof Inn and satellite communications company Inmarsat found that Wi-Fi (in hotels and on planes, respectively) was more important to customers than a free breakfast, parking and in-flight entertainment.
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Those numbers complement the iPass survey, which found that half of survey participants spent less than one day without internet access in the past year. That frequency probably can’t compete with sex for most people.
While the internet is no longer a novelty, its place in our everyday lives will continue to morph and change. And while it’s not clear whether internet providers should be looking to profit off of the digital divide, we're collectively deciding to give Wi-Fi priority among life's other pleasures.
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