Connecting everyone on the planet to the internet could lift seven percent of the world's population out of abject poverty, according to a new study.
The report - "Connecting the world: Ten mechanisms for global inclusion" - released on Tuesday for Facebook, concludes that 500 million people could escape poverty by being connected online. Connecting the majority of the world would also benefit the global economy by over $6 trillion, according to the study, and provide a $400 billion growth opportunity for telecom operators.
Currently, 4.1 billion people are disconnected from the modern economy.
Internet growth across the globe is slowing down plus the majority of the world connects online via an extremely slow and unreliable 2-G network, according to the study led by Strategy&, PricewaterhouseCooper's strategy consulting business.
Facebook and its chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, have been campaigning for universal internet access. Zuckerberg outlined the progress of the Internet.org initiative at the World Mobile Congress in February, through which he hopes to expand Internet to billions of people who lack access. Free Basics, a key package that offers only select services including Facebook, operates in 38 countries and has brought access to about 19 million people, Zuckerberg told delegates.