It is expected that by the end of 2016, around half of the world’s population will be using the internet as mobile networks are increasingly spreading and prices are declining steadily, but their numbers will remain saturated in the developed world, a United Nations agency stated on Tuesday.
In the developed nations of the world, around 80% of the population uses the internet. However, this number of online users falls to 40% in developing countries and less than 15% in even more under-developed countries, as stated by a report made by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
The spread of networks and users
In many of Africa’s poorer and more disconnected countries, only one person in 10 people is on the internet. The offline population is usually female, elderly, less educated, poorer and lives in rural areas, said the union, a specialized agency for information and communication technologies.
Around the world, 47 per cent of the world’s population is active on the internet, still far short of a UN target of 60 per cent by 2020. Some 3.9 billion people, more than half the world’s population, are disconnected. ITU expects 3.5 billion people to have access by the end of this year.
“In 2016, people no longer go online, they are online. The spread of 3G and 4G networks across the world had brought the internet to more and more people,” the report said.
Telecoms and internet companies are increasing the use of more affordable smartphones to encourage consumers to browse the internet, causing demand to grow for data-heavy services. But less-developed countries still lag behind the rest of the world.
“Internet penetration levels in LDCs today have reached the level enjoyed by developed countries in 1998, suggesting that the LDCs are lagging nearly 20 years behind the developed countries,” the report said.
It explained that the cost of services and of extending infrastructure to rural and remote customers and the high price of mobile cellular use is the reason as to why developing countries lag behind, as the costs are unfeasible and impractical for those living in these conditions.
- world-internet-online: ThingLink