More and more people have access to and are using the Internet. 51.2% of the global population now using the Internet, Africa records the fastest growth – ITU Report
The ITU, United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs), estimates that at the end of 2018, 51.2 percent of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, will be using the Internet. This is according to a new study published by the organization.
The Current State of ICTs
The report finds that there continues to be a general upward trend in the access to and use of ICTs. Most importantly, the world has crossed the halfway line in terms of Internet use, with 51.2 per cent of the world population using the Internet by the end of 2018.
This figure means more than half of the world’s population will be online for the first time, thanks above all to a strong growth in developing countries, where internet penetration has surged from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 percent at the end of 2018.
Of all ITU regions, the fastest growth was reported in Africa, where the percentage of people using the internet increased from 2.1 percent in 2005 to 24.4 percent in 2018.
In developed countries, slow and steady growth increased the percentage of the population using the internet from 51.3 percent in 2005 to 80.9 percent in 2018, while rates also rose to 54.7 percent in the Arab States and 47 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.
The regions with the lowest growth rates were Europe, with 79.6 percent, and the Americas, with 69.6 percent of the population using the internet.
Mobile Penetration Rates
The report said active mobile broadband penetration rates surged from 4.0 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2007 (286 million in total) to 69.3 (5.3 billion) in 2018, with the strongest growth again observed in Asia-Pacific, the Arab States, and Africa.
In the least developed countries, mobile broadband penetration rates went up from virtually zero in 2007 to 28.4 subscriptions per 100 in 2018, said the ITU, adding that 96 percent of the global population now lives within reach of a mobile cellular network, with 90 percent able to access the internet through a 3G or higher speed network.
IT Skills For The Future
Lack of or inadequate ICT skills are a major impediment for people to access the Internet. ITU data and other cross-nationally comparative data sources show that there are considerable gaps across the board in the skills needed.
A third of individuals lack basic digital skills, such as copying files or folders or using copy and paste tools; a mere 41 per cent have standard skills, such as installing or configuring software or using basic formulas on spreadsheets; and only 4 per cent are using specialist language to write computer programmes.
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