India’s ranking in broadband penetration drops: UN

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

4 Billion People Are Still Without Internet.

Internet user growth is slowing and over half of the world’s 7 billion people are offline, the United Nations (UN) has warned in a report 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.UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 22 (PNA/Xinhua) — Broadband Internet is failing to reach billions of people living in the developing world, including 90 percent of those living in the poorest nations, a new UN report said on Monday.

The commission, set up in 2010 by the International Telecommunication Union and UNESCO, the UN scientific and cultural agency, said the milestone of four billion Internet users was unlikely to be passed before 2020. “Over half the world’s population – some 57%, or more than 4 billion people – still do not use the Internet regularly or actively,” the report said. 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. The report, which came ahead of this week’s summit at UN Headquarters in New York at which world leaders will adopt the 2030 Agenda which contains the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), stressed that access to information and communication technology (ICT), particularly broadband Internet, had the potential to serve as a major accelerator of development. 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.

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 Republic of Korea continues to have the world’s highest household broadband penetration, with 98.5 percent of homes connected, followed by Qatar (98 percent) and Saudi Arabia (94 percent). 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.” Produced annually by the Broadband Commission, The State of Broadband Report is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by country data measuring broadband access against key advocacy targets set by the Commission in 2011.

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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