Wi-Fi for All?


There is one Wi-Fi hotspot for every 150 people on Earth, new research indicates. It also suggests there will be 47.7 million public hotspots worldwide by the end of 2014. (BBC)

Check out our MapMaker Interactive layer on the distribution of the world’s Internet users, and see if hotspots correlate.

Discussion Ideas

  • What is a Wi-Fi hotspot?
    • A Wi-Fi hotspot is a site that offers wireless Internet access. (Wi-Fi is a trademarked name, by the way, and should always be capitalized. A generic name for Wi-Fi is “wireless local area network (WLAN)”.)


  • Where are local customers likely to find Wi-Fi hotspots?
    • Homes, cafes, hotels, and public transportation all offer hotspots. Some cities offer Wi-Fi coverage to entire areas.


  • Where do you find local Wi-Fi hotspots in your neighborhood?


  • Get familiar with the Wi-Fi Growth Map from Wi-Fi provider iPass. Which region has experienced the most growth in Wi-Fi hotspots over the past year? What region has the most hotspots in total? What country has the most Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes? What countries does iPass predict will have the largest hotspot growth rates in 2018?
    • North America has experienced the most growth—a whopping 690% increase since 2013.
    • Europe has the most hotspots in total—just over 26 million.
    • China has the most number of Wi-Fi hotspots in cafes—more than 2 million.
    • In 2018, iPass estimates the United States and China will have the greatest growth rate in Wi-Fi hotspots.


  • Compare the Wi-Fi hotspot map to our own map of internet users around the world (above). Is there a correlation? Why or why not?
    • Yes, there is a correlation. Areas with widespread Wi-Fi are usually in highly developed regions with a stable technology infrastructure. Residents in these areas have greater access to reliable Internet services and devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones.


  • Are there any countries where the Wi-Fi map and the internet-user map do not correlate? What might be some reasons?
    • There are several places.
      • The country of Indonesia, for instance, is not represented on the internet-user map, but has more than 85,000 hotspots, according to iPass. This is probably because, according to the map legend, data was not available for the internet-user map. It’s a lack of data, not a lack of users.
      • The country of Greenland, on the other hand, has a strong representation on the internet-use map but is basically off the grid on the hotspot map. There are probably a couple of reasons for this. First, Greenland has a sparse population, and very few Wi-Fi hotspots are probably needed. Second, Greenland is a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and the internet-user map may have used data for all of Denmark, not split out by region.


  • According to iPass, by 2018, there will be one hotspot for every 20 people on Earth. Why is this statement very misleading?
    • According to the BBC, “this growth will not be evenly distributed. While in North America there will be one hotspot for every four people by 2018, in Africa it will be one for every 408.” Even that statement—one hotspot for every 408 Africans—is misleading. Almost all of that growth is concentrated in the developed nation of South Africa and the growing nation of Nigeria.



BBC: One wi-fi hotspot for every 150 people, says study

Nat Geo MapMaker Interactive: Internet Users (per 100 people)

iPass: Wi-Fi Growth Map

One response to “Wi-Fi for All?

  1. Wi-Fi is essential matters in this modern day. This absolutely helpful the development in term of education. Accessing internet using Wi-Fi connection make students easier in obtaining information regarding education.


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