According to UN communication technology agency, 2.9 billion people in the world have not used the internet.

Data from the International Telecommunication Union show that around one in every three people has never accessed the internet, the Washington Post reports.

The data shows, however that most of them live in countries with limited internet access or no computer infrastructure. 

Reporting by the UN agency highlighted that 46 of its least-developed nations have ‘almost 35% of people never connected to’. They cited poverty, limited electricity and lack of literacy.

Rural areas are the most affected by the divide in internet access.

Data from the International Telecommunication Union shows that 2.9billion people have never accessed the internet and that the majority of these people live in developing countries where the internet or access to a computer isn't so readily available (stock image)

International Telecommunication Union data shows that nearly 2.9 billion people never access the internet. This is despite the fact that most of them are living in poor countries, where internet access and computer use are not as easy (stock image).

These people are 4 times more likely to use the internet in rural areas than their counterparts from urban settings. 

The connectivity divide is also influenced by gender. Only one-fifth of UN’s less developed countries has been online, and only five percent have had their children go online.

This data is available in spite of an increase of internet users due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In 2021, the number of internet users has risen to 4.9 billion. This is an increase by 17 percent from 2019.

The agency commented on the findings of its report and said that although there was an increase in internet users, it continued to reveal that many people are still poor. 

The data comes amid a sharp rise in the total number of people using the internet in 2021 - with the coronavirus pandemic playing a role in driving more people online (stock image)

This data is amidst a dramatic rise in internet usage in 2021. The coronavirus pandemic played a part in driving people online. Stock image

This year’s increase in internet users can partly be explained by the increase in people working at home due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The necessity of being able access to the internet has brought out the social divisions in the world, with the poorer and rural communities the most unable to connect to the web. 

A study two years back found that internet access is a human right. People who are unable to use the Internet for any reason do not have meaningful means to control their own lives.

People who cannot access the internet, especially in third-world countries, may not be able to exercise their basic rights like freedom of speech and information.

The 20-year journey that led to the creation of the internet 

The US Defense Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), or the ‘Eve’ network was first published in 1967.

It was established in 2002 as a means of interconnecting four universities’ computers.

ARPANET users began to transfer files via FTP by the end 1970 and, a year later, they dialed into networks using personal computers.

ARPANET then was handed over to NSFNet, a military network called Defense Data Network.

Around the same time, the system adopted TCP/IP, allowing researcher to create the ‘networks of networks’ – the small begins of the modern internet.

The World Wide Web was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. 

Citizens without internet access may miss out on vital political opportunities as more of the debate takes place online.

Research by the University of Birmingham previously revealed that access to the internet could be a key way of protecting other basic human rights such as life, liberty, and freedom from torture – a means of enabling billions of people to lead ‘minimally decent lives’.

Merten Reglitz is a Lecturer in Global Ethics, University of Birmingham. He published his findings in the Journal of Applied Philosophy.

He stated that Internet access was not a luxury but a moral right. Everyone should be able to access the global internet without restriction or censorship – even those who cannot afford it.

“Many people don’t have the ability to hold supranational institutions and rule-makers accountable without such access.”

These individuals don’t have the right to make the decisions that affect their chances of success.

It was also important to note that internet access is a prerequisite for exercising freedom of speech and getting information.

While earlier this year, former Prime Minister Tony Blair called for universal access to a democratic internet by 2030, claiming it should be a ‘critical priority’ for world leaders in the fight against future pandemics.

The Tony Blair Institute’s foreword stated that closing the digital gap would increase economic growth and make life easier for ‘billions of people’.

According to this report, the Covid-19 epidemic has shown how dependent many aspects of our lives are upon internet access. Yet, more than 3.5 million people still live without the Internet.

It asked the G20 for a concerted effort to boost demand for connectivity tech to improve infrastructure investment opportunities as well as to introduce regulatory reforms in an attempt to open markets and lower prices for consumers all over the globe.

Blair declared that closing the digital gap by 2030 should be a priority for the West’s international policy.

“Accelerating Internet expansion will drive economic growth, enable progress, and – as my Institute’s report demonstrates – there are huge benefits to investment that outweigh the costs.

It outlines urgent actions needed to stimulate demand, regulate reform and increase global coordination. Also how to form a new digital alliance to transform the opportunity for billions.

Blair also argued that creating a more open, democratic internet across all nations would reduce any threat of the internet splintering as different countries – such as China – attempt to regulate the internet in different ways.

Two years have passed since the 50th anniversary when the first digital message was sent using the Internet – October 29, 1969.

Earlier this year, former prime minister Tony Blair (pictured on November 14) called for universal access to a democratic internet by 2030

Tony Blair, ex-prime minister (pictured November 14, 2003) demanded universal internet access by 2030.

On that date, Charley Kline from the University of California-Los Angeles and Bill Duvall from the Stanford Research Institute were able to transmit the word ‘login’ over a network funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA).

This transmission was made possible by the use of a system later to become known today as the internet. 

ARPANET was the idea of two people who wanted to communicate from Los Angeles to Stanford about ARPA. 

Kline tried to relay the word login to Duvall but could not get the word out “lo” before the system crashed.

However, Stanford received the entire message on its second attempt.

ARPANET was shut down in 1990. However, it provided the basis for the future Internet.

Over time, there were many developments in software and hardware that would allow this technology to be made available to the general public. This will bring the technology out of the computer world into the pockets and homes of billions.

Kline und Duvall have been credited with sending the first email over the internet. But there are a few founder fathers who came before these two.

Bob Taylor is a pivotal figure in computing’s history. At ARPA, Taylor helped to create a computer network linking ARPA-sponsored researchers at institutions and companies around the globe.

Leonard Kleinrock was also a Professor at University of California Los Angeles. He developed the mathematical theory of packet switching, and sent the first messages between two computers in a network that predated the Internet.


The World Wide Web was created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist born on June 8, 1955.

He graduated from Queen’s College Oxford with a degree in physics and began as an engineer for the microprocessor and telecommunications industries.

Berners-Lee explained the concept for a global system using hypertext in order to facilitate information sharing between researchers during 1980 while working independently at CERN.

Tim Berners-Lee wrote (pictured) the blueprint for what would become the World Wide Web, and said he is alarmed at what has happened to it in the last year

Tim Berners Lee (pictured) created the blueprint that would eventually become the World Wide Web.

The prototype Enquire system he created was the foundation for the World Wide Web.

He published his seminal paper in 1989, “Information Management: A proposal”, and built the first WWW web server and browser, “”.

The World Wide Web Consortium was established by him in 1994. This is the largest international standards organization for the internet.