Speedy access to the internet is easy to take for granted. Throughout much of the western world, high-speed internet access is almost ubiquitous. We simply assume we’ll have a good Wi-Fi connection wherever we are and whenever we need one.
But in many parts of the world, high-speed internet access is rare or nonexistent. In large portions of Africa, Asia, and South America, for instance, internet connectivity is entirely reliant upon mobile cellular networks. And according to 2016 data from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), 95 percent of the world’s population lives in areas covered only by basic 2G cellular networks. Over a 2G network, it can take nearly 30 minutes to download even one very simple app. Imagine how agonizing that feels if you’re paying for mobile network access by the minute. Downloading just one app can be an expensive proposition!