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London "the world's most connected city", claims Wireless Broadband Alliance


London is the world's most connected city, with just seven percent of its citizens unconnected, new figures from the Wireless Broadband Alliance have revealed.

The study, which was released to coincide with World Wi-Fi Day, found 1.75 billion citizens across the world's eight richest countries remain unconnected, with 34 percent of these living in towns and cities.

However, Europe fared comparatively well. In the United Kingdom 8.4 million citizens are unconnected, or 12.83 percent, the smallest proportion of the countries surveyed.

Germany was next, with 10.7 million, or 13 percent of its population unconnected. Russia was in fifth place, with 26.7 percent unconnected, or 39.3 citizens.

India was the most proportionally unconnected country, with 68.6 percent of the population or 853.4 million people unconnected.

The report said that while urban adoption of mobile internet was much faster than in rural areas, it faced challenges such as companies' limited spending power, lack of available technology and lack of awareness among consumers about the internet's benefits.

Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the WBA, said: “Connectivity is now an essential commodity, much in the same category as power and water. Yet many people in some of the world’s major cities are still without an internet connection...Wi-Fi is playing an instrumental role in helping cities bring wider and more affordable connectivity to its citizens."

He added: “The issue of the urban unconnected is of critical importance the economies and societies around the world. We call on governments around the world to re-double their focus on connecting the urban unconnected.

"It’s vital that internet access becomes recognized as a human right, and that all stakeholders involved in the provision of broadband work together to make this happen."

Meanwhile, carrier Wi-Fi provider Fon used World Wi-Fi Day to reveal it has now connected more than 21 million locations, including more than 250 airports, 14,000 stations, 9,000 hotels and 440,000 venues worldwide.

CEO Alex Puregger said the company was planning further partnerships with operators, MVNOs and Internet of Things providers. He said: "“We have two business units: One that is a one-stop shop for anybody who wants to connect their customers to a large Wi-Fi network. We provide the footprint, the connection tools, as well as the reporting to understand usage and behaviour.

"The other business unit focuses on Wi-Fi technology and helps operators and also MSPs to build and manage Wi-Fi networks. While both are independent, their combined impact will change the way Wi-Fi networks will work and interact in the future.”

Belgian operator Proximus said it was teaming up with Fon to give customers free access to more than 1.3 million of its hotspots in Belgium.