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In News:

  • 51.2 percent of the global population, or 3.9 billion people, will be using the Internet at the end of 2018, according to an ITU report.

ITU report findings:

  • For the first time, more than half of the global population is online. The United Nations said around 3.9 billion people are now using the Internet.
  • The percentage of population using the Internet in developed countries has grown from 51.3 percent in 2005 to 80.9 percent in 2018.
  • The percentage of population using the Internet in developing nations has surged from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 percent at the end of 2018.
  • In Africa, the percentage of people using the Internet increased from 2.1 percent in 2005 to 24.4 percent in 2018.
  • Fixed-broadband connections reached 1.1 billion in 2018 as compared with fixed-telephone connections of 942 million.
  • The penetration rate in active mobile-broadband subscriptions increased from 4 subscriptions per 100 people in 2007 to 69.3 in 2018.
  • The number of active mobile-broadband subscriptions has increased from 268 million in 2007 to 5.3 billion in 2018.
  • In developing countries, penetration rate for mobile broadband subscriptions has reached 61 per 100 inhabitants in 2018.
  • 96 percent of the world population lives within reach of a mobile cellular network. 90 percent of the global population can access the Internet through a 3G or higher speed network. 
  • Almost 60 percent of household has Internet access at home in 2018 against less than 20 percent in 2005, ITU estimates

Importance of the report:

  • This represents an important step towards a more inclusive global information society.
  • ITU called for more support to technology and business innovation so that the digital revolution leaves no one offline. 
  • The gains have been more dramatic in developing countries, with Africa experiencing the strongest growth over the same period.
  • The report also showed that the number of mobile-cellular telephone subions is now greater than the global population. It also found that mobile broadband subions have skyrocketed.

International Telecommunication Union (ITU)

  • ITU is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICTs). Members include 193 countries and 800 private-sector entities and academic institutions.
  • HQ is present in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • ITU is responsible for allocating global radio spectrum and satellite orbits. It also develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies to seamlessly interconnect.
  • It also strives to improve access to ICTs among the underserved communities worldwide.
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