business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Mashable has a story about the mixed results that AOL is achieving as it works hard "to reinvent itself as a modern digital media and advertising company."

But what grabbed my attention was the following Eye-Opening number - that AOL membership fees, generated by 2.4 million dial-up internet customers around the country, generated $196 million in revenue last year, and $138 million in profit, which was a significant portion of the company's overall revenue and profit numbers.

That's interesting.

Because a lot of people - and I would count myself as one of them - talk about the internet and e-commerce as if everybody has broadband access. Which clearly they don't. For reasons of geography or economics, some people still are accessing the internet the old fashioned way.

Which tells us something Eye-Opening about both geography and economics.

This story comes on the heels of a Los Angeles Times story about a United Nations report saying that while close to three billion people on the planet will have access to the Internet by the end of the year, that means that "60% of the world's population -- about 4.2 billion -- will remain unconnected … The report says 78% of people in developed countries are expected to have access to the Internet, but in countries that are still developing, the percentage of connected users drops dramatically. In those countries, only 32% of the population is expected to have access to the Internet by the end of the year."

Lots of work to be done. Because you can't be competitive without internet access, and as so many of us have discovered - and often take for granted - broadband changes everything.
KC's View: