Germans recognise the Internet as a driver for innovation, but its workings remain a mystery

Frankfurt – September 30, 2014


Tata Communications’ global ‘Connected World II’ report polling 1,347 Germans reveals vision of an internet enabled future


Germans are avid users of the Internet, but for the majority of surveyed Germans, many of its backend workings are still a bit of a mystery. That is one of the key findings of the new global report, entitled, ‘Connected World II,’ initiated by Tata Communications, a leading provider of A New World of Communications™, whose network is used by over 24% of the world’s internet routes. The report reveals that surveyed German users recognise the Internet as one of the key innovation drivers of the future, but the majority do not understand the basics of how the Internet works, or indeed the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web. The survey captured responses from 9,417 internet users globally, including 1,347 Germans, to better understand their behavioural patterns, attitudes, technical knowledge and emotional connection with the Internet.

The internet as key driver

In the past decade, no other innovation has impacted life more than the Internet, with half the world’s population expected to be online by 2020[1]. The survey found that surveyed Germans are excited about how the Internet will bring about further changes in the future. Asked about the most inspirational opportunity for change in the next three to five years, 45% cited the delivery of light speed connectivity. However, only a low percentage are excited by automated products (17%) and wearable technologies (16%). The possibility of smart cities was seen by surveyed Germans as even less inspirational with only 7% of respondents opting for it.

The mysterious internet

Since almost all communication and information has shifted online, people, especially the younger generation, expect to have internet access 24/7. However, despite 75% of surveyed Germans actively spending up to six hours a day online, surveyed Germans have little knowledge about how the Internet is delivered. Only 54% of the respondents could accurately identify that the Internet resides in network connected data centres, 22% had other alternatives in mind including ‘super computers’ and ‘inside mobile phones’ and 24% couldn’t make a guess  as to where the Internet comes from. Many of the Internet foundations remain unknown, with almost 79% of surveyed Germans incorrectly thinking that the Internet and the World Wide Web are the same thing. The Internet is defined as a global system of interconnected computer networks, and the World Wide Web as a system of interlinked hypertext documents that are accessed via the Internet – two separate things.

Emotional connection

Another key finding of the survey is that German users are the least emotionally connected to the Internet. 43% of the German respondents said that they do not care when they couldn’t connect to the Internet and almost 13% of German respondents are even relieved when they’re without internet access, preferring the downtime over constant connectivity. This is different to the UK and France where 62% of respondents felt negative emotions such as anxiousness and fear of missing out when not connected. However, 12% of surveyed Germans did admit to feeling angry when not able to connect. The survey also investigated what people would give up to get internet access, with 38% of surveyed Germans willing to quit alcohol, 24% chocolate, and 16% TV for internet access.

Julie Woods-Moss, Chief Marketing Officer and CEO of Tata Communications’ Nextgen Business, says, “The survey results also found that 77% of global respondents believe the most beneficial impact of the Internet is the ability to connect people globally with incredible speed. This belief has been the guiding force of our business strategy in the past, and is the essence on which we have built our networks to support the present and the future. The fact that over 24% of the world’s Internet routes use our network affords us a rare advantage and a perspective that helps connect with our customers globally across emerging markets and developed economies.”

Emerging markets and developed economies are different in their vision of an internet enabled future

In terms of regional differences, Asian internet users appear to be the most active with over 46% of Indian and 43% of Singaporean respondents spending six or more hours per day active on the Internet compared to a global average of 29%. In addition, Asian respondents appear the most ‘internet dependent’; with less than half of Singaporeans and Indian respondents capable of lasting up to 12 hours without internet access compared with 86% of Germans, 77% French and 75% of US respondents.

Also, respondents from emerging markets and those from developed economies are distinctly different in their vision of the most ‘inspirational opportunity’ or what the Internet can enable in the future. The respondents from Asian countries (Singapore and India) picked smart cities as their preferred choice for what the Internet can enable in the future, as opposed to U.S., UK, France and Germany choosing light speed connectivity.

As more and more global consumers demand greater flexibility with regards to their digital footprint (connected devices, mobility, access to higher bandwidth speed and capacity), Tata Communications recognises the critical role that the Internet plays in facilitating and controlling seamless access between the IT user and service provider (internal or external). Private and business consumers are looking for that ‘just works’ internet experience that allows them to seamlessly switch their home technology to the work place and vice versa. Tata Communications is creating an open communications infrastructure ecosystem that makes the Internet Fit for Business, ensuring high quality and predictable internet that delivers a robust digital ecosystem that’s equipped for the future and that can cope with customers’ demands of intelligence, scalability and reliability.

Tata Communications’ global connectivity services are built on the world’s largest and most advancedglobal sub-sea cable network, which enables carriers and enterprises to connect almost anywhere in the world. The cable network boasts significant depth in the key emerging markets including Asia, Middle East and Africa. Over 24% of the world’s internet routes use Tata Communications’ network.

For those interested in how the Internet actually works, a video can be found [here]. The complete global report can be found [here].

About the survey

Tata Communications conducted an online survey that comprised of 14 closed questions, aimed at capturing behavioural, technical and philosophical responses in relation to people’s associations, understanding and emotional connections to the Internet. A total of 9,417 respondents across six countries: India, Singapore, UK, USA, Germany and France participated in the survey. Out of the total number of respondents surveyed, 50% of them are women and 50% men. 33% of the respondents are from Asia (India and Singapore), 52% from Europe (UK, France and Germany) and 15% from North America with age ranges: 15-25=11%, 25-35=23%, 35-45=22%, 45-55=22%, 55-65=21%. The findings of this survey were then analysed as an aggregate of the responses and further based on age, gender and location to arrive at the insights.

[1] Value of Connectivity: Economic and social benefits of expanding internet access”. Deloitte and Facebook, 2014



Natalie Chak
Tata Communications
+44 (0)7833 043 779


Janine Donath
Hill & Knowlton Strategies
+49 (0)69 97362 15

About Tata Communications

Tata Communications Limited (CIN no: L64200MH1986PLC039266) along with its subsidiaries (Tata Communications) is a leading global provider of A New World of CommunicationsTM. With a leadership position in emerging markets, Tata Communications leverages its advanced solutions capabilities and domain expertise across its global and pan-India network to deliver managed solutions to multi-national enterprises, service providers and Indian consumers.

The Tata Communications global network includes one of the most advanced and largest submarine cable networks and a Tier-1 IP network with connectivity to over 240 countries and territories across 400 PoPs, as well as nearly 1 million square feet of data centre and collocation space worldwide.

Tata Communications’ depth and breadth of reach in emerging markets includes leadership in Indian enterprise data services and leadership in global international voice. Tata Communications Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of India.

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