The surprising economic downsides of slow internet

One of the grand challenges of the 21st Century will be to make internet speeds faster, because as the statistics reveal in the animation above, slow connections influence incomes more than you might realise – and some countries are lagging behind.

The internet: not even 25 years ago, people barely knew what it was. Today, the modern world could barely operate without it.

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Still, over half the global population doesn’t have access to it. While that’s a monumental challenge in its own right – tech companies love to posit how they’ll get ‘the next billion’ online – there’s another web-related hurdle. For those that do have internet access, how do we make sure their internet speeds are as fast as possible? And why is it important?

The pluses of having swift net speeds are not limited to brisk downloads of movies or video games or music. The real benefits are far more substantial – and could even affect a country’s GDP. In the infographic animation above, see a series of surprising numbers and charts that reveal why.

Miriam Quick is a researcher specialising in information visualisation.

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