In a recent ITU report on Internet usage shows a rapid rise in Internet usage and general connectivity.

Since the new millennium, the ICT (Information, Communications and Technology) revolution has driven global development. Technological progress, infrastructure deployment, and falling prices have brought even more growth in ICT access and connectivity to billions of people around the world.

With the global population standing at around 7.2 billion, the ITU report predicts that there will be around 3.2 billion people will be online by the end of 2015.

Of the 3.2 billion people on-line, around 2 billion will be in the developing world, but only 89 million will be in countries such as Somalia and Nepal which are classed as the “least developed countries” by the United Nations, but still have a combined population of 940 million.

However the report also noted that for every Internet user in the developed world there are 2 in the developing world. But, 4 billion people from developing countries remain offline, representing 2/3 of the population residing in developing countries.

Mobile connectivity

Mobile phone usage continues to rise, and with handsets having considerably more functionality, their usage has continued to drive Internet usage.

The ITU report stated that there will be more than 7 billion mobile device subscriptions – representing a global penetration rate of 97%. Smartphone usage has also increased significantly making mobile broadband the most dynamic market segment. Globally, mobile broadband penetration Is anticipated to reach 47% in 2015, a value that has increased 12 times since 2007.

The report found that 78 out of 100 people in the US and Europe already use mobile broadband, and 69% of the world has 3G coverage – but only 29% of rural areas are served.

Africa lags behind with just 17.4% mobile broadband penetration, but still widespread use of 2G services. The proportion of the population covered by a 2G mobile-cellular network will grow from 58% in 2001 to 95% in 2015.

By the end of the year 80% of households in developed countries and 34% of those in developing countries will have internet access in some form, the report continued.

By Ian Poole