Higher Internet penetration means better GDP growth

A study involving over 1 trillion end-user Internet connections has revealed a link between Internet penetration and economic growth.

The study showed that South Africa is at the low-end of the scale, which points to a need to improve the country’s Internet environment.

These findings were shared in the paper The Internet as Quantitative Social Science Platform: Insights from a Trillion Observations.

“With the large-scale penetration of the Internet, for the first time, humanity has become linked by a single, open communications platform,” said the researchers.

“We report insights arising from a unified Internet activity and location dataset of an unparalleled scope and accuracy, drawn from over a trillion observations of end-user Internet connections, with temporal resolution of just 15 minutes over 2006 to 2012.”

The study found that unique IP per capita counts reach saturation at approximately one IP per three people, and take, on average, 16.1 years to achieve.

The research showed that IP activity data can be used to predict local economic activity, as well as differences in sectoral productivity.

Using the data set, the researchers found a positive correlation between GDP per capita and IP per capita.

IP per capita rankings

The table below shows the IP per capita rankings.

IP rankings

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Higher Internet penetration means better GDP growth