Freedom House: Internet access and usage continues to grow in Georgia

Only 2% of people living in Georgia are unfamiliar with the internet altogether, reveals the research. Photo: N. Alavidze/, 01 Nov 2018 - 18:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

The number of internet and mobile phone subscriptions in Georgia continues to grow, but high prices for services, inadequate infrastructure, and slow internet speeds remain obstacles, says Freedom House, a US-based independent watchdog that conducts research and advocacy on democracy, political freedom, and human rights.

Internet access continued to grow during the reporting period, with approximately 60.49% of Georgians accessing the internet in 2017. According to a countrywide survey conducted by the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC), 42% of the population accessed the internet on a daily basis in 2017 and the most active internet users were located in the capital”, reads the research.

Only two per cent of people living in Georgia are unfamiliar with the internet altogether, reveals the research.

There is a very slight gender gap, with over 59% of men using the internet compared to over 57% of women in 2016.

Another survey conducted by the National Statistics Office of Georgia showed that 71.5% of households had access to the internet in 2017. 60.5% of individuals aged six and above have used the internet within the last three months, while 38% had never used the internet, said Geostat.

Mobile penetration is also extremely high. 

Mobile phones significantly outnumber landlines, and reception is available throughout the country, including rural areas. The vast majority of households access the internet from a home computer or laptop (89%) rather than from personal mobile phones (59%)”, reads the report.

Report finds that younger generations are more likely to regularly use mobile internet, and mobile internet use in regions outside the capital is relatively high.

In rural areas, fixed wireless broadband is becoming more widespread, replacing CDMA connections. Internet access is fairly affordable, with a monthly mobile broadband plan of 1GB costing approximately GEL 5 ($2.10). The cost of an average monthly fixed-line broadband subscription was approximately GEL 38 ($16) for 20mbps”, the report reads.

Report also says that many restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas, and other public places in Georgia provide Wi-Fi access, allowing customers to use the internet on their personal devices.

In 2013, as part of a plan to improve infrastructure for local self-governance, the State Services Development Agency began developing community centers where local citizens could access the internet and online resources including Skype, bank services, telecommunication services, and government electronic services developed. As of May 2018, 52 centers were operating in different regions and districts throughout the country”, reads the report.