UN report: 4B still offline as broadband growth slows sharply

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Broadband Internet is failing to reach those who could benefit most, with Internet access reaching near-saturation in the world?s rich nations but not advancing fast enough to benefit the billions of people living in the developing world, according to the 2015 edition of the State of Broadband report.

broadband report

The report revealed that 57% of the world?s people remain offline and unable to take advantage of the enormous economic and social benefits the Internet can offer.

New figures in the report confirmed that 3.2 billion people are now connected, up from 2.9 billion last year and equating to 43% of the global population.

With regard to the Philippines, the report ranked the country at no. 45 with 23.2 fixed broadband subscriptions per 100 capita. For mobile broadband subscription, the Philippines was at the 103th spot with 28 subscriptions.

In terms of households with Internet connection, the Philippines was at 59th spot with 26.9 subscriptions. However, in the number of individuals using the Internet, the Philippines was ranked only at 106th with 39.7 percent of the population using the Internet.

But while access to the Internet is approaching saturation levels in the developed world, the Internet is only accessible to 35% of people in developing countries.

The situation in the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries is particularly critical, with over 90% of people without any kind of Internet connectivity.

This year?s figures show that the top ten countries for household Internet penetration are all located in Asia or the Middle East.

South Korea continues to have the world?s highest household broadband penetration, with 98.5% of homes connected; Qatar (98%) and Saudi Arabia (94%) are ranked second and third respectively.

Iceland has the highest percentage of individuals using the Internet (98.2%), just ahead of near-neighbors Norway (96.3%) and Denmark (96%).

Monaco remains very slightly ahead of Switzerland as the world leader in fixed broadband penetration, at over 46.8% of the population compared with the Swiss figure of 46%.

There are now six economies (Monaco, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Liechtenstein and France) where fixed broadband penetration exceeds 40%, up from just one (Switzerland) in 2013.

The Asia-Pacific region now accounts for half of all active mobile broadband subscriptions, with Macao, China easily taking top place with 322 active mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people ? or just over 3 subscriptions per inhabitant ? followed by second-ranked Singapore (156 subscriptions per 100 people) and Kuwait (140 subscriptions per 100 people).

In total, there are now 79 countries where over 50% of the population is online, up from 77 in 2014. The top ten countries for Internet use are all located in Europe.

The lowest levels of Internet access are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with Internet available to less than 2% of the population in Guinea (1.7%), Somalia (1.6%), Burundi (1.4%), Timor Leste (1.1%) and Eritrea (1.0).

?The 2030 Agenda recognizes the power of new technologies to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide, to develop knowledge societies ? we must do everything to support States in reaching these goals, especially developing States,? said UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova.

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