In a remarkably short time, internet connectivity has gone from being a desirable amenity to something we can’t seem to live without.
At the beginning of 2019, in a global population of 7.7 billion, there were 4.39 billion internet users as well as 5 billion unique mobile users and 3.5 billion active social media users, according to the Digital 2019 reports from Hootsuite and We Are Social. Those figures are a stunning 57%, 65% and 45% of the human race, respectively, and represent a 9–10% growth over the previous year.
More than 90% of those users watch videos online, while 30% play games streamed over the internet and 16% watch sports tournaments live. Nearly 3 billion people purchase consumer goods online. According to the Arris 2018 Connectivity and Entertainment Index, 89% of people worldwide now expect constant connectivity wherever they go.
In 2010, by contrast, the entire world contained fewer than 2 billion internet users — and when the network wasn’t available, nobody was surprised.
What’s true on land is also true at sea. Passengers aboard ships want their internet, whether it is for email, messaging, social media, entertainment, sharing photos or making purchases. Where passengers once boarded cruise ships to get away from it all, they now want to stay connected to families, friends, jobs and their favorite entertainment.
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