New research has found 82% of internet users in countries with some of the world’s harshest internet censorship regulations expect the need for web access tools like VPNs to grow in the next year. The research, carried out by Hola, gathered insights from 2,000 internet users across China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and found users in those regions were currently 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 the most-restricted territories overwhelmingly believe technology providers should be doing more to make online content accessible. Ninety seven percent 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. Ninety five percent of internet users with limited access to online content already use web content tools to access restricted material. 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,” explains 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.”

This article was sponsored by Hola.