October 8, 2013
The affordable variety of mobile plans has amplified the reach of Internet globally, a new study has revealed.
And, by the end of the year, 40 per cent of the world’s population — 2.7 billion people — will be connected to the Internet, according to a report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Worldwide, there will also be roughly 6.8 billion mobile-cellular subscriptions — almost as many as there are people on the planet.
“This year’s IDI figures show much reason for optimism, with governments clearly prioritizing (information and communication technologies) ICTs as a major lever of socio-economic growth, resulting in better access and lower prices,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré in a press release.
The upswing in connectivity can be attributed to a decrease in broadband pricings in more than 160 countries. In fact, in the last four years, the cost has dropped by 82 percent overall — from 115 percent of average monthly income per capita in 2008 to 22 per cent in 2012.
Mobile broadband is, largely, more affordable than fixed broadband, accounting for the continual rise in Smartphone sales.
The report also points out significant differences remain between developed and developing countries, making obvious the link between income and Internet connectivity.
“Our most pressing challenge is to identify ways to enable those countries which are still struggling to connect their populations to deploy the networks and services that will help lift them out of poverty,” Touré said.
The Republic of Korea leads the way in overall ICT development for the third year in a row, followed by Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Norway. The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Hong Kong (China) round out the top 10. The U.K. sat in 11th place last year.
The report also measured connectivity among youth across the globe.
The “digital native population,” those who fall into the 15-24 age group and have five or more years “of online experience,” make up only 30 per cent of the world’s young population.
“In developed countries, 86 per cent of young people – 145 million young Internet users – are digital natives,” reads the report. “In contrast, of the 503 million young Internet users in developing countries, less than half are considered digital natives. This is expected to rapidly change as the ITU forecasts that the amount of digital natives in developing countries will more than double in the next five years.”
Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.