If you ask people about the key things they cannot do without, clean air and fresh water are always at the top of their lists. It might shock some among us but in recent years, “internet access” has begun to appear as a close third or fourth, or fairly high up the pecking order. Yes, internet access. While many such surveys are conducted online where the post-internet generation forms a chunk of the respondents, the reality is that a lot of us now just cannot live without being constantly connected.

To stay connected with our work, families and friends these days, we need email, Facebook and Twitter. We need high-speed internet to access a range of media and entertainment. On the streets, in malls and in offices, and even when taking public transport, we wonder if something is amiss if we do not see people fiddling with their internet-connected handheld devices.

So, why is it that there are still some places where we cannot stay connected?

Inner-city mass rapid rail almost anywhere and high-speed intra-city trains in Europe, China and Japan offer connectivity on the move that is almost as good as on the ground. The only real connectivity black spot these days is in the air. Currently, less than 10% of passenger aircraft globally offer internet connectivity. You might be able to get through a short twoto three-hour regional flight without connectivity, but a 12-hour flight to Europe or a 15- hour one to North America being completely cut off from the rest of the world in this day and age can be daunting.