In 2023, internet usage among urban residents worldwide stands at 81%, while rural areas lag behind at 50%. Despite some minor improvements, the urban-rural digital divide, measured by the ratio of these percentages, remains substantial, decreasing from 1.7 in 2020 to 1.6 in 2023.
While important urban-rural divides between regions exist, the urban-rural divide also varies significantly by income group. High-income countries have nearly eliminated the gap with a ratio of 1.1. However, low-income countries struggle, with only 17% of rural residents accessing the Internet compared to their urban counterparts. This underscores the amplified digital divide in rural areas, with a 48 percentage point difference in internet usage between urban areas of low-income and high-income countries and a 71 percentage point gap between rural areas of the two groups.
Innovative initiatives like Not2Far are crucial. They're making strides in delivering sustainable, high-speed internet to isolated communities, significantly reducing the digital divide by offering affordable connectivity to the most underserved populations.