Did you know, it was the work of an Australian engineer, John O’Sullivan, that led to the invention of wireless internet technology?

This mammoth infographic looks at the legacy of his work, from 1999, when the first wireless compatible devices began to be built, until now: a world that boasts 700 million Wi-Fi connected internet users and around 800 million new devices being added every year.

The graphic looks at the impact of wireless internet on everything from social lifestyle and employment to cause of political change.

As a measure of how keenly we feel the internet’s importance, well – a majority of respondents in India would rather go without chocolate than internet access for a year, while three quarters of Americans think that being denied internet access for a week would make them more irritable than complete abstinence from coffee.

It also shows how our expectations of the internet have grown along with our usage. Long gone are the days of plugging a cable into the phone socket for connectivity and waiting patiently for one screen to load: if Wi-Fi doesn’t pull up a page in three seconds, then 40% of users will just head elsewhere.

Sadly, Australia doesn’t make it into the top slots for public Wi-Fi hotspots or broadband subscriptions, but luckily nor do we for the world’s most expensive hotel wireless connection – which costs the equivalent of over $450 a day for high speed access in a Cannes establishment.

However, free connectivity is shown here to be a winning strategy for businesses to entice customers, who appear to be willing to pay more for everything from flights to apartments if they come with good Wi-Fi.

Infographic: The global impact of wireless internet connectivity


Tan Allaway

Tan Allaway is a former editor of PwC’s Digital Pulse.

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