Half the world is now on­line

Scottish Daily Mail - - Weekender - By Emily Kent Smith

MORE than half the world’s pop­u­la­tion is now on­line, re­search by the United Nations has re­vealed.

Some 3.9bil­lion peo­ple are us­ing the in­ter­net, with 51.2 per cent of the globe set to be con­nected by the end of the year.

Houlin Zhao, head of the UN’s In­ter­na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion Union, said the mile­stone was ‘an im­por­tant step to­wards a more in­clu­sive global in­for­ma­tion so­ci­ety’. But he warned that ‘far too many peo­ple’ were ex­cluded.

Four out of five peo­ple in the world’s rich­est coun­tries are con­nected, com­pared with 51.3 per cent in 2005.

In de­vel­op­ing nations, the in­crease has been more dra­matic, with 45.3 per cent of peo­ple on­line – up from just 7.7 per cent 13 years ago. In Africa the fig­ure has risen from 2.1 per cent in 2005 to 24.4 per cent to­day.

There are now more mo­bile phone con­tracts than peo­ple on the planet, and 96 per cent live within reach of a sig­nal, while 90 per cent can ac­cess 3G sig­nals or bet­ter.

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