Al­most half the world will be on­line by end of 2016

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

By the end of 2016, al­most half of the world’s pop­u­la­tion will be us­ing the in­ter­net as mo­bile net­works grow and prices fall, but their num­bers will re­main con­cen­trated in the de­vel­oped world, a United Na­tions agency said yes­ter­day. In the world’s de­vel­oped coun­tries about 80 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion use the in­ter­net. But only about 40 per­cent in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and less than 15 per­cent in less-de­vel­oped coun­tries are on­line, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the U.N.’s In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union (ITU).

In sev­eral of Africa’s poorer and more frag­ile coun­tries, only one per­son in 10 is on the in­ter­net. The off­line pop­u­la­tion is fe­male, el­derly, less ed­u­cated, poorer and lives in ru­ral ar­eas, said the union, a spe­cial­ized agency for in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies.

Glob­ally, 47 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion is on­line, still far short of a UN tar­get of 60 per­cent by 2020. Some 3.9 bil­lion peo­ple, more than half the world’s pop­u­la­tion, are not. ITU ex­pects 3.5 bil­lion peo­ple to have ac­cess by the end of this year. “In 2016, peo­ple no longer go on­line, they are on­line. The spread of 3G and 4G net­works across the world had brought the in­ter­net to more and more peo­ple,” the re­port said. Tele­coms and in­ter­net com­pa­nies are ex­pand­ing as more af­ford­able smart­phones en­cour­age con­sumers to browse the in­ter­net, caus­ing de­mand to grow for data-heavy ser­vices. How­ever, less­de­vel­oped coun­tries - LDCs - still trail the rest of the world.

“In­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion lev­els in LDCs to­day have reached the level en­joyed by de­vel­oped coun­tries in 1998, sug­gest­ing that the LDCs are lag­ging nearly 20 years be­hind the de­vel­oped coun­tries,” the re­port said. It blamed the cost of ser­vices and of ex­tend­ing in­fra­struc­ture to ru­ral and re­mote cus­tomers and the high price of mo­bile cel­lu­lar use. — Reuters

An em­ployee works in the dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter of the on­line re­tailer Ama­zon dur­ing a guided tour for jour­nal­ists be­fore the Christ­mas sea­son in Bad Hers­feld yes­ter­day.

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