Hola research shows limited web access in censored regions

By Alex Tuck & Avi Raz Cohen
Internet users are looking towards web access tools for dealing with world’s harshest internet censorship regulations, according to Hola VPN

New research released recently by Hola has highlighted concerns amongst internet users in countries with some of the most restricted web access in the world, that the need for web tools to access online content is going to grow in the next 12 months.

Over four in ten (43%) citizens that have limited access to web content struggle to gain access to educational information and resources, with one-third (29%) struggling to access news online.

The study, carried out by the leading market research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of Hola, gathered insights from 2000 internet users across China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and United Arab Emirates (UAE), and found 82% of users believe the need for web content tools will increase in the next year. 93% of respondents in China believe the need will increase in their region, and this comes as internet censorship in China will continue to expand.

Avi Raz Cohen, General Manager, Hola VPN

Limited access to educational resources and online news

Citizens surveyed across these regions are struggling to gain access to basic resources that many outside of those regions take for granted. The research revealed that those with limited access to web content are struggling to access educational information and resources (43%) and online news (29%). When it comes to overcoming the growing challenge of internet censorship, citizens in those territories most impacted by restrictions overwhelmingly believe technology providers should be doing more to make online content accessible. 97% of those asked believe this to be the case and nearly all respondents in China (99%) think technology providers should be doing more in this area.

Web content tools are becoming increasingly important as censorship grows and users look to bypass local restrictions. The findings show 92% of respondents that use web content unlocking tools to access online content believe they are important to enable this access. 95% of internet users that have limited access to online content already use web content tools to access restricted material. 

Free web tools vital for accessibility

As some online tools can be expensive and therefore not accessible for all users, making free tools, that allow a gateway to web content, a necessity. When it comes to free-to-use tools, 80% of respondents would consider using free technology tools to be able to access online content.

“The internet was created to be a global borderless resource that benefits us all, but due to geopolitical interferences, it is becoming increasingly closed off in certain regions, and we must all work together to fight back against this,” explained Avi Raz Cohen, Hola’s General Manager. “As we can see in the findings, users are struggling to gain access to educational material and online news content, amongst other things, and this is simply unacceptable. We agree with users in those regions that technology companies should be doing more to address this and one key weapon in this battle is free web content tools that help unlock blocked content. We are proud to provide free VPN technology and web tools that unlock online content and help bypass restrictions. One thing is certain - we’ll do all we can to support citizens around the world as they push for borderless online freedom.”

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