Half the world’s pop­u­la­tion does not have in­ter­net ac­cess, UN study shows

The Myanmar Times - - World -

MORE than half the world’s pop­u­la­tion does not use the in­ter­net, with pro­hib­i­tive broad­band costs keep­ing bil­lions off line, a United Na­tions re­port said.

The UN’s In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Union (ITU) said that 3.9 bil­lion peo­ple do not have home or mo­bile in­ter­net ac­cess and that the prob­lem was most acute among the world’s “fe­male, el­derly, less ed­u­cated, lower in­come and ru­ral pop­u­la­tions”.

One prob­lem is the cost of fixed­broad­band ac­cess, which has fallen glob­ally over the last decade but re­mained “clearly un­af­ford­able” in many of the world’s poor­est coun­tries, the ITU said.

In 2008, the global av­er­age price for a ba­sic fixed-broad­band con­nec­tion was US$80 per month, a fig­ure which fell to $25 a month last year, ac­cord­ing to the ITU.

But, in poorer coun­tries a fixed­broad­band monthly pack­age with just one gi­ga­byte of data – which is roughly the amount needed to down­load an av­er­age movie – still costs more than half of an av­er­age an­nual salary.

With fixed broad­band so ex­pen­sive, mo­bile in­ter­net ac­cess can of­fer a so­lu­tion to get more peo­ple on­line the ITU said, not­ing that mo­bile­broad­band net­works tech­ni­cally cover 84 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion. –

Photo: AFP

Syr­ian Civil De­fence mem­bers re­move rub­ble from a street on Novem­ber 22 fol­low­ing air strikes by govern­ment forces on the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern out­skirts of the cap­i­tal Da­m­as­cus.

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