Most of the world’s 7.4 billion people now have access to the Internet, yet only 47 percent are actually online.
Newly released stats from the United Nations revealed that mobile-broadband networks now extend to 84 percent of the world’s population, but high prices as well as other barriers are keeping many people offline.
“To bring more people online, it is important to focus on reducing overall socio-economic inequalities,” ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said in a press release. “Education and income levels are strong determinants of whether or not people use the Internet. ICTs will be essential in meeting each and every one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and this report plays an important role in the SDG process. Without measurement and reporting, we cannot track the progress being made and identify areas that require action, and this is why ITU gathers data and publishes this important report every year.”
With the end of 2016 in sight, there are now nearly as many mobile-cellular subscriptions as people on the planet and 95 percent of the human race lives in an area covered by a mobile-cellular signal. However, that number does not paint a completely accurate picture of mobile phone use because many people, especially in North America and Europe have multiple subscriptions or devices.
In developing countries, a “significant part of the population” does not use mobile-cellular services while in developing economies roughly 20 percent of the population are still not using a mobile phone.
The UN said other metrics also need to be produced “to accurately assess mobile uptake, such as the number of mobile phone users or mobile phone owners.”
To access the UN’s full report, click here.