Almost half the world will be online by the end of 2016! But it’s not as great as it sounds

A new report on the connected world predicts that by the end of 2016, 47% of the world’s population will be using the internet as mobile networks grow and prices fall. Considering the internet has only really been commercially available since the early 90s, spreading across half the world in a quarter-century is an impressive feat. But the scales of internet access are decidedly tipped in the developed world’s favor.

This report comes from the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union and also reveals that in the world’s developed countries about 80% of the population use the internet. But only about 40% in developing countries and less than 15% in less-developed countries are online.

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The report is based on the expansion of 3G and 4G mobile networks and lower smartphone costs, thanks to Android. As the report correctly notes, “in 2016, people no longer go online, they are online”. While 3.5 billion people, almost half the world, will be online by the end of this year, some 3.9 billion people, more than half the world’s population, will not be.

This is  25% less than the UN’s goal for 2020 as the organisation expects 60 percent of the rapidly approaching seven and a half billion people to be online by that time. This may seem very achievable to you considering we’re still in 2016 but it is highly unlikely the world will reach that target in time. “Internet penetration levels in LDCs today have reached the level enjoyed by developed countries in 1998, suggesting that the LDCs are lagging nearly 20 years behind the developed countries,” the report notes.

Recommended : In 2017, 75% of Internet use will be with mobile devices

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.

Efforts are being made by various Internet companies and governments across the Globe. Google’s Project Loon, Facebook’s internet.org aim to bypass the most impractical and costly barriers of delivering internet access to remote and rural areas.  The Digital India campaign led by the Indian government aims to bring more than 800 million Indians online for the first time which if successful could be a huge boost to the UN’s cause.

Now that we have the Internet, it’s hard to imagine life without it. How long could you go without any Internet access? How much time do you spend online during a day?

Via : Reuters

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