How Much of the World Has Regular Internet Access? | Techno stream

How Much of the World Has Regular Internet Access?

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 Billion People Are Still Without Internet.

One of the (many) reasons you’re very special is because the United Nations Broadband Commission’s most recent findings about the global state of Internet connectivity, released Monday. The United Nations’ Broadband Commission has published a new report whose headline finding is that 57 percent of the human population — or around 4.2 billion people — will still not have access to the internet by the end of 2015. Though we may fancy ourselves to be denizens of a borderless interconnected world, the truth is that more than “half the world’s population—some 57 percent, or more than 4 billion people—still do not use the Internet regularly or actively,” Reuters noted. (And not for lack of trying.) Back in June, a Pew study showed that 15 percent of Americans don’t use the Internet.

The country fetched 156th rank among the 192 member states of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), said a report, titled ‘The State of Broadband 2015: Broadband as a Foundation for Sustainable Development’. At the same time however, mobile cellular subscriptions exceeded 7 billion for the first time this year. “This year’s report finds mixed messages… Although strong growth rates continue for mobile broadband and Facebook usage, and mobile cellular subscriptions exceeded 7 billion for the first time during 2015, growth in global mobile cellular subscriptions and growth in Internet usage have slowed sharply,” the UN’s report said. Expanding the internet to rural or remote areas is a challenge because it leads to “steep increases in marginal costs of network deployments for less densely populated or more remote areas, jeopardizing the viability of service provision on a commercial for-profit basis”. While access to Internet is approaching saturation levels in the developed world, the Net is only accessible to 35 percent of people in developing countries.

The UN summit is being convened from 25-27 September in New York as a high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly for the adoption of the agreed sustainable development goals (SDGs). “The spread of information and communication technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress and to develop knowledge societies,” said the report. “However, the digital divide is proving stubbornly persistent in terms of access to broadband internet, including the challenge of extending last-mile access to infrastructure to remote and rural communities.” According to the commission, the governments may cut taxes and import duties on telecommunication / ICT equipment and services to make broadband more affordable. In fact, the report suggests that the number of mobile data subscriptions could come close to matching the number of normal cellphone subscriptions by 2020. There are now six economies where fixed broadband penetration exceeds 40 percent, these are Monaco, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, Liechtenstein and France. It said the sale of SIM cards posted a significant growth during 2005-2009 as Islamabad brought down the sales tax rates on SIM cards “to a quarter of their preceding level”.

The Asia-Pacific region now accounts for half of all active mobile broadband subscriptions with Macao, China easily taking top place with 322 active mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people. The commission recommended several other supply- and demand-side measures, including co-deployment, sufficient availability of quality spectrum, expanding network coverage, development of technical standards to improve economies of scale and quality of services and lowering prices. For all the fun-poking that Google’s Project Loon and Facebook’s internet drone receive, such initiatives could yet take the web to the rest of the 4 billion that aren’t online.

For the demand-side measures, the report advised that the policymakers should ensure availability and affordability of broadband-enabled devices and services for poor and at-risk households, development of local content and broadband applications, promoting effective ICT skills and literacy. “Governments and regulators should carry out a detailed review and analysis of the shortfalls in their own markets and the regulatory options available to address them,” the commission said. “Countries with more innovative ‘fourth-generation regulation’ are generally associated with higher levels of mobile broadband penetration and growth – ITU has found that growth in services has happened most rapidly where regulatory enablers (eg industry consultations, infrastructure sharing) have been put in place to leverage the latest technologies and innovations.” The Commission aims to boost the importance of broadband on the international policy agenda and believes that expanding broadband access is key to accelerate progress. The Commission comprises a high-powered community, top CEO and industry leaders, senior policy-makers, government representatives, international agencies and academia.

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