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Google: New internet users affected by socioeconomic impact of Covid-19

The study titled ‘New Internet Users in a Covid-19 World’ revealed that the global pandemic widened the gap among internet users in terms of affordability, and increased challenges for new users.

Update : 28 Oct 2020, 06:19 PM

New internet users are disproportionately affected by the socio-economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic, finds a recent study conducted by Google’s Next Billion Users initiative team. 

The study titled ‘New Internet Users in a Covid-19 World’ revealed that the global pandemic widened the gap among internet users in terms of affordability and increased challenges for new users.

“Covid-19 is a challenge for everyone, and it hit new internet users hard,” says Caesar Sengupta, Google’s Vice President for Payments and the Next Billion Users Initiative.

He added that in the face of this challenge, there was an opportunity if governments businesses and civil society organizations work together.

“As technology plays a bigger role in our lives and digital economies grow, we can and should make the internet better and more inclusive in the post-Covid world,” Caesar said. 

As essential services like commerce, education, healthcare services and other government services go online to cope with the new normal, people who cannot afford increased data payments were sufferers, the Google study said, adding that existing problems like low digital literacy and limited access to the internet or devices became more acute. 

The study identifies eight needs which are concerning for new internet users.

As food, education and even jobs transform from physical to digital, staying online for prolonged time becomes a necessity, which means buying internet data will cost a bigger portion of living expenses, the it says. 

The study was conducted with participants from Brazil, Mexico, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria. 


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