By Tyler Falk | July 2, 2013
Yes, you’re seeing that right, there are almost as many cell phone subscriptions as there are people. It’s an astounding statistic considering that the number of cell phone subscriptions was only a fraction of the population in 2005. Now, the U.N. projects that there will be 6.8 billion cell phone subscriptions while our total population is just over 7 billion. However, subscription growth rates have fallen to their lowest level in the last year. Still, that puts global penetration of cell phones at 96 percent, 89 percent in developing countries. And it’s developing countries which account for over 77 percent of the world’s cell phone subscriptions and, increasingly, those phones are smartphones.
While cell phone use is impressive, we can’t overlook how quickly more people around the world are connecting to the Internet. There are now about 2.7 billion people using the Internet, up from around one billion in 2005. But while that number is growing, there are regional differences in who is connected and who isn’t. For example, 77 percent of the developed world is connected, while sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rate with less than 20 percent of the population using the Internet, though Itnernet access is on the rise there.
Phi Beta Iota: The above does not take appear to take into account all the burner phones, shared phones (e.g. the cellular access ladies of India), and other forms of access. What is not yet in play today, because Industrial Era telecommunications and computing giants are simply not able to think outside their boxes, is the SUBSTANCE of local to global communications, computing, and intelligence. WHAT is being said, WHEN and WHERE it is being said, and HOW this is relevant to everything else including true cost economics and participatory budgeting, is being left to a handful of humanitarian technology specialists. Put bluntly, Dr. Dr. Dave Warner and Dr. Patrick Meier are doing more between them than all of the Member nations of the EU or NATO, for the simple reason that they are focused on meaning. The first major INSTITUTION — be it Virgin Mobile, a UN specialized agency, the US Department of Defense perhaps via the National Defense University — that embraces the reality of all minds, all languages, all the time as Human Intelligence (HUMINT) interactive substance, not TECHNINT online monitoring by drones that do not speak and of 183 languages — will change the world for the better.