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Majority of world’s population is offline

Broadband Internet is failing to reach those who could benefit most, with a majority of the world’s population lacking internet access, according to the 2015 edition of the Broadband Commission’s ‘State of Broadband’ report  .

The State of Broadband 2015 report is the fourth edition of the Commission’s broadband world connectivity assessment.  It is an annually released report that features country-by-country rankings based on access and affordability for over 160 economies worldwide.

The Broadband Commission comprises more than 50 leaders from across a range of government and industry sectors that are committed to actively assisting countries, UN experts and NGO teams to fully leverage the huge potential of ICTs to drive new national SDG strategies in key areas like education, healthcare and environmental management.

The state of the world inter-connectivity is such that while internet access is reaching near-saturation in the world’s rich nations it is surprisingly failing to advance fast enough to benefit those billions of people living in the developing world, the report claims.

In effect, 57% of the world’s population is still offline and unable to take advantage of the enormous economic and social benefits of the Internet.  And, with 17 goals now firmly on the global agenda of the UN’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, all governments and private industry are both reminded of the strong interest  lies in finding ways to get people online, as this report purports.

Figures in the report confirm that 3.2 billion people are now connected to the Internet, up from 2.9 billion last year that is 43% of the global population mostly in the world’s developed areas.  The Internet is only accessible to 35% of people in developing countries with the situation in the 48 UN-designated ‘least developed countries’ is particularly critical, with over 90% of not connected people.

“The UN Sustainable Development Goals remind us that we need to measure global development by the number of those being left behind,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, who serves as co-vice Chair of the Commission with UNESCO director general Irina Bokova.  “The market has done its work connecting the world’s wealthier nations, where a strong business case for network roll-out can easily be made.  Our important challenge now is to find ways of getting online the four billion people who still lack the benefits of Internet connectivity, and this will be a primary focus of the Broadband Commission going forward.”

For further reading see THE STATE OF BROADBAND 2015:  BROADBAND AS A FOUNDATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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