The ITU estimates that 2.7 billion people – or 39% of the world’s population – will be using the Internet by end 2013. Internet access, however, will remain limited in the developing world, with only 31% of the population forecast to be online at the end of 2013, compared with 77% in the developed world.
Over the past four years, household access has grown fastest in Africa, with an annual growth rate of 27%. But despite a positive general trend, 90% of the 1.1 billion households around the world that are still unconnected are in the developing world.
Speaking to government Ministers gathered at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré said:
“We have made the most extraordinary progress in the first twelve years of the new millennium…and yet we still have far to go. Two thirds of the world’s population – some 4.5 billion people – is still offline. This means that two thirds of the world’s people are still locked out of the world’s biggest and most valuable library. Two thirds of the world’s people are still refused access to the world’s biggest market place. And two thirds of the world’s people are still denied the extraordinary opportunities now available to the other third. Mobile broadband is clearly going to be a vital part of the solution, and we must continue to ‘mobilize’ to ensure that all the world’s people have affordable, equitable access to the Internet.”