The 2013 Central Bank of Sri Lanka report is being sourced for the claim that one in ten Sri Lankans is on the Internet. But this number comes from adding apples and oranges: most individually used mobile broadband connections and mostly collectively used fixed connections. Now with 4G and 3G dongles around in large numbers, one has difficulty making this distinction with mobile: quite a number of 4G boxes and 3G dongles are directly substituting for fixed connections. So what we should ask is what we know about Internet users, rather than Internet subscribers. Here, there is another problem: we have data from household surveys (2012 Census), but one cannot easily derive individual user numbers from household numbers.
Helani Galpaya’s work and LIRNEasia’s research has been drawn upon for a newspaper column. The novel element we had never thought of is using Facebook as a data source: One other metric is available to anyone, just go to facebook.com/ads and create an ad. It will tell you how many people your ad can reach. For people of all ages, that number is 1,126,020.