NEW YORK â€” The U.S. ranks 19th globally in terms of number of people online, ahead of other OECD countries like Germany (20th) and Australia (21st), but behind the United Kingdom (12th), Japan (15th) and Canada (16th). The U.S. has slid from 20th to 24th place for fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, just behind Japan but ahead of Macao (China) and Estonia, according to the 2014 edition of the State of Broadband report.
50 percent of the global population will have Internet access within three yearsâ€™ time
The report predicts that within three years’ time over 50 percent of the global population will have Internet access within three yearsâ€™ time, with mobile broadband over smartphones and tablets now the fastest growing technology in human history
The report reveals that more than 40 percent of the worldâ€™s people are already online, with the number of Internet users rising from 2.3 billion in 2013 to 2.9 billion by the end of this year.
Over 2.3 billion people will access mobile broadband by end 2014, climbing steeply to a predicted 7.6 billion within the next five years. There are now over three times as many mobile broadband connections as there are conventional fixed broadband subscriptions. The popularity of broadband-enabled social media applications continues to soar, with 1.9 billion people now active on social networks.
Produced annually by the Broadband Commission, The State of Broadband is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by-country data measuring broadband access against key advocacy targets set by the 54 members of the Broadband Commission.
South Korea Leads the World with 98 Percent Online
The Republic of Korea continues to have the worldâ€™s highest household broadband penetration at over 98 percent, up from 97 percent last year. Monaco now surpasses last yearâ€™s champion, Switzerland, as the world leader in fixed broadband penetration, at over 44 percent of the population. There are now four economies (Monaco, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands) where penetration exceeds 40 percent, up from just one (Switzerland) in 2013.
Most Connected/Least Connected Countries
In total, there are now 77 countries where over 50 percent of the population is online, up from 70 in 2013. The top ten countries for Internet use are all located in Europe, with Iceland ranked first in the world with 96.5 percent of people online. The lowest levels of Internet access are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with Internet available to less than 2 percent of the population in Ethiopia (1.9 percent), Niger (1.7 percent), Sierra Leone (1.7 percent), Guinea (1.6 percent), Somalia (1.5 percent), Burundi (1.3 percent), Eritrea (0.9 percent) and South Sudan (no data available). The list of the ten least-connected nations also includes Myanmar (1.2 percent) and Timor Leste (1.1 percent).
â€œAs we look towards the post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is imperative that we not forget those who are being left behind,â€ said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. TourÃ©, who serves as co-vice chair of the Commission with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. â€œBroadband uptake is accelerating, but it is unacceptable that 90 percent of people in the worldâ€™s 48 least developed countries remain totally unconnected. With broadband Internet now universally recognized as a vital tool for social and economic development, we need to make connectivity a key development priority, particularly in the worldâ€™s poorest nations. Connectivity is not a luxury for the rich â€“ rather, it is the most powerful tool mankind has ever had at its disposal to bridge development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment.â€
Too Many People Remain Unconnected
â€œDespite the phenomenal growth of the Internet, despite its many benefits, there are still too many people who remain unconnected in the worldâ€™s developing countries,â€ said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. â€œProviding Internet connectivity to everyone, everywhere, will take determined policy leadership and investment. As we focus on infrastructure and access, we must also promote the rights skills and diversity of content, to allow women and men to participate in building and participating in knowledge societies. As the new State of Broadband report shows, ICTs are making a significant contribution to social development, economic development and environmental protection, the three pillars that will underpin the post-2015 international development agenda and move us towards a more sustainable world.â€œ
The Commissionâ€™s advocacy around the importance of broadband has seen the number of countries with a National Broadband Plan in place grow from 102 in 2010, when the Commission began its work, to 140 today, according to the new report.