By the end of the year, nearly 3 billion people globally will be online, up from just 2.7 billion at the end of 2013 according to the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) Measuring the Information Society Report.
The report notes that Internet usage is expected to grow by 6.6 percent this year; 3.3 percent in developed countries as we approach saturation levels and 8.7 percent in developing nations. In developing nations, the number of Internet users will have doubled over the past five years.
Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that 66 percent of today’s Internet users live in the developing world.
Elsewhere, the ITU estimates that mobile cell phone subscriptions will close in on 7 billion by the end of 2014. The ITU highlights the fact that the high number doesn’t mean that nearly everyone in the world has a cell phone. Instead, multi-SIM ownership is helping to drive subscription numbers. It’s believed that 450 million people worldwide reside in areas that don’t get mobile cellular service.
Despite the progress, the ITU notes that 4.3 billion people are still not online. 90 percent of those still not online live in the developing world which isn’t a surprise when you consider fixed-broadband penetration stands at just six percent.
Over the next five years, the ITU expects to connect an additional 1.5 billion users thanks largely in part to new spectrum that’ll become available soon.