Nearly half of the world’s population will be online by the end of this year, according to a new report by a telecom body.
Figures from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) forecasted that 3.2billion people will be using the internet in 2015.
Of the current population of 7.2 billion about 2 billion of those will be in the developing world, according to the report.
Also, there were more than 7 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, up from 738 million in 2000.
“These new figures not only show the rapid technological progress made to date, but also help us identify those being left behind in the fast-evolving digital economy, as well as the areas where ICT investment is needed most,” said Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General.
The report showed that internet penetration has increased almost seven-fold from 6.5 to 43 per cent of the global population in the last 15 years.
The number of households with internet access at home moved up from 18 per cent in 2005 to 46 per cent in 2015, ITU said.
It found that 78 out of 100 people in the US and Europe already use mobile broadband and 69 per cent of the world has 3G coverage – but only 29 per cent of rural areas were served.
Africa lags behind with just 17.4 per cent mobile broadband penetration.
Broadband is also affordable in 111 countries, with the cost of broadband meeting the set target of being less than five per cent of gross national income per capita.
“Over the past 15 years the ICT revolution has driven global development in an unprecedented way", said Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU telecommunication development bureau.
“ICTs will play an even more significant role in the post 2015 development agenda and in achieving future sustainable development goals as the world moves faster and faster towards a digital society.”