Mobile broadband the route to universal access

According to Finishing the Job in this week’s Economist, mobile phone access will soon be universal and the next job will to do the same for the internet:

"… at current rates of growth it seems likely that within five years, and certainly within ten, everyone in the world who wants a mobile phone will probably have one. 3G networks capable of broadband speeds will be widespread even in developing countries, and even faster 4G networks will be spreading rapidly in some places."

Mobile phones have had a spectacular impact on the economies of developing countries. The next priority is to ensure universal internet access. According to research conducted by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union, Informa Telecoms & Media and Forrester Research, this is more likely to occur through the use of mobile broadband delivered to low-cost netbooks, than through fixed broadband subscriptions:

 

The One Laptop Per Child initiative may have stalled somewhat but, if these forecasts are correct, similar low-cost devices will eventually proliferate, perhaps eventually at the target $100 unit price. Quite a prospect.

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