More than half of the world’s population — 3.9 billion people or 51.2 per cent — will be using the internet by the end of 2018, the United Nations telecommunications agency announced.
The record figure of 3.9 billion people or 51.2 per cent that will be online by the end of December is an important milestone in the digital revolution, according to the International Telecommunication Union. The agency insists that this increased connectivity will help promote sustainable development everywhere, a release said.
Africa has shown the strongest rate of growth in internet access from around two per cent in 2005 to more than 24 per cent of the African population this year.
Europe and the Americas are the regions with the slowest growth rates, though the current figures show that 79.6 per cent and 69.6 per cent are online, respectively.
The ITU said that slow and steady growth in developed countries increased the percentage of population using the Internet from 51.3 per cent in 2005 to 80.9 per cent in 2018.
Though there is a big progress, the ITU has said that a lot of communities worldwide still do not use the internet, particularly women and girls. The statistics show older people also disproportionately remain offline, as do those with disabilities, indigenous populations and some people living in the world’s poorest places.
In a bid to reduce inequalities, the agency is calling on more infrastructure investment from the public and private sectors, and to focus on ensuring that access remains affordable for all.
International Telecommunication Union global and regional estimates for 2018 are “a pointer to the great strides the world is making towards building a more inclusive global information society,” Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General said.