Internet access must improve, says International Telecommunication Union.
Over 50% of the global population will have internet access within three years’ time, with mobile broadband over smart-phones and tablets now the fastest growing technology in human history, according to the 2014 edition of The State of Broadband report.
Released on September 21st in New York at the 10th meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, the report reveals that more than 40% of the world’s people are already online, with the number of internet users rising from 2.3bn in 2013 to 2.9bn by end-2014.
The lowest levels of internet access are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with internet available to less than 2 % of the population in Ethiopia (1.9%), Niger (1.7 %), Sierra Leone (1.7 %), Guinea (1.6 %), Somalia (1.5 %), Burundi (1.3 %), Eritrea (0.9 %) and South Sudan (no data available).
“As we look towards the post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals, it is imperative that we not forget those who are being left behind,” said International Telecommunication Union (ITU) secretary-general Dr Hamadoun I. Toure.
“Broadband uptake is accelerating, but it is unacceptable that 90% of people in the world’s 48 Least Developed Countries remain totally unconnected… we need to make connectivity a key development priority, particularly in the world’s poorest nations. Connectivity is not a luxury for the rich – 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.”
A video highlighting the work of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development since its launch in 2010 can be viewed below.