Total broadband coverage of the planet will precede total broadband adoption by a number of years. Prices will need to drop and technologies will need to simplify before everyone is connected.
But total broadband coverage is still extremely significant, because there will always be first adopters that bring considerable benefits to a community even before most people can afford access themselves.
As I travel through developing countries, I see a lot of different categories of first adopters, even in the most resource-poor settings:
- Aid workers: foreign aid workers invariably maintain internet access, generally through cellular connections that are too expensive for most in the community;
- Health clinics: even remote clinics can often afford to pay higher costs associate with cell or microwave access;
- Missionaries: In many regions, the first to arrive with smartphones are missionaries;
- Peace Corps Volunteers: Over sixty countries host Peace Corps volunteers, many in extremely remote regions;
- Tourists: Even remote eco-lodges these days figure out how to provide wifi to guests;
- (And my favorite) Surfers: With their maniacal obsession for finding the next great wave, combined with their need to stay in touch, surfers support the arrival of wifi to even the most distant surf camps.