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 on Tuesday.
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 U.N. 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.