Back at the start of this century, if you wanted to access the internet it was a time consuming task reserved for those who were rich enough to afford it. Computers were still pretty new in our homes so they hadn’t had chance to come down in price. On top of that, you had to spend hundreds of extra dollars on a dial up modem and plug it into your phone line whenever you wanted to surf the web, rendering your home phone unusable.
Now just over 15 years later, it’s almost unheard of to be somewhere where you can’t access fast, wireless broadband internet. Back in 2000, only 361 million people around the world had access to the web. At the start of this decade, nearly six times as many people had access to the internet with an incredible 1,967 million users in 2010. Over the last five years, it’s thought that more than a billion more users have gained access to the internet, meaning that 3 billion or 40 percent of the world’s population now has access to the internet.
The internet has now become one of the most competitive markets in the country, with dozens of providers offering cheaper and cheaper deals and even free gifts to get people to sign up. Most providers will even give you a cheap or even free modem as part of the deal, meaning it costs just a few dollars to get set up rather than the hundreds it did just a decade ago.
The boom in the popularity and accessibility of the internet has changed how we do a lot of things in our lives. Instead of having to visit the shops, we now have the widest range of products that can be delivered the next day or sometimes even the same day with retailers like Amazon via the web. You can even use the internet to educate yourself and train for a new career. Websites like Udacity and Team Treehouse offer cheap and sometimes free courses to train to become a web developer, game designer or data analyst.
It has even changed the way we relax and socialise. Casino games have become an entertaining new past time for many, with websites like Lucky Nuggets providing game play close to the real experience of a casino table over the internet. Whether you enjoy slots, poker or another game, Lucky Nugget accepts Canadian players to complete with either a computer or others around the country in real live game play. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have also transformed how we keep in touch with each other. Now with a few clicks we can see pictures and videos of our friends and families latest adventures.
So what is next for the internet? Well the future of the internet looks to be moving away from desktop and laptop computers and onto cheaper and more portable devices. Surfing the internet is about to become affordable to even more people as at the end of last year developers Raspberry announced they would be selling a computer for as little as $5. The PIZERO is a tiny, credit card sized device which will let you do pretty much anything a normal computer would do. Just add a screen, a mouse and a keyboard and you’ll have yet another way of accessing the World Wide Web. Something many could have only dreamed about just a few years ago.