[smh] The Internet remains an "unaffordable option" for too many people across the globe, the Queen said on Monday in her annual Commonwealth Day message.
The British monarch praised advances in science and technology for improving lives, but said too many people were left out of the benefits offered by advances in modern telecommunications.
"Experimentation, research and innovation mean that more opportunities for improving people's lives exist today than ever before," the head of the Commonwealth said.
"Take long distance communication, where the obstacles of time and geography have been dramatically reduced.
"People can now use mobile phones to be in instant contact virtually anywhere in the world, be it with a medical centre in the Himalayan mountains in Asia, a Pacific island school, a research facility at the South Pole, or even the International Space Station, beyond this planet altogether.
"Advances in modern telecommunications are also having a marked economic effect on people from developing nations in the Commonwealth, helping to transform small to medium-sized businesses."
But the sovereign stressed: "The Internet is playing an important part in helping to nurture these fledgling markets but, as yet, it still remains an unaffordable option for too many of our Commonwealth citizens."
Internet beyond reach of many: Queen