Half the world is now online, ITU says

For the first time, half the world is now connected to the Internet, the International Telecommunication Union said at the weekend. By the end of 2018, the ITU estimates that 51.2% of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, will be using the Internet.

In developed countries, Internet use has risen from 51.3% in 2005 to 80.9% in 2018, while in developing countries growth has jumped from 7.7% in 2005 to 45.3% now, the United Nations specialised agency said.

“Of all ITU regions, the strongest growth was reported in Africa, where the percentage of people using the Internet increased from 2.1% in 2005 to 24.4% in 2018,” it said. In its measurements, the ITU excludes North African countries from its Africa numbers, instead grouping these countries with the Arab states.

Broadband access continues to grow, too, the ITU said. There were more fixed-broadband connections (1.1 billion) in 2018 than fixed telephone connections (942 million).Mobile access to basic telecommunication services is becoming ever more predominant. While fixed telephone subscriptions continue to decline, with a penetration rate of 12.4% in 2018, the number of mobile subscriptions is greater than the global population. Growth in mobile in the past five years was driven by countries in Asia-Pacific and Africa.

The growth in active mobile broadband subscriptions has been much stronger, with penetration rates increasing from four subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2007 to 69.3 in 2018. The number of active mobile broadband subscriptions have increased from 268 million in 2007 to 5.3 billion in 2018.

‘Much faster’

“Developing countries are registering much faster growth in mobile broadband subscriptions compared to developed countries. In developing countries, penetration rates have reached 61 per 100 inhabitants in 2018, with much more scope for further growth in coming years.”

Nearly the entire world population, or 96%, now lives within reach of a mobile cellular network. Furthermore, 90% of the global population can access the Internet through a 3G or faster network.

The ITU estimates that, globally in 2018, almost half of all households had at least one computer, up from just above a quarter in 2005. In developed countries, 83.2% of households own a computer in 2018, compared to 36.3% in developing countries. In Africa, the proportion of households with access to a computer increased from 3.6% in 2005 to 9.2% in 2018.

Source: NewsCentral Media