The number of netizens world over will reach 3 billion by the end of 2014, and two-third of them from the emerging world, with the mobile users reaching a whopping number of 7 billion, said a UN report.
The report by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) said 44 percent of the world’s households will have internet access by 2014 and close to 31% of them from the developing countries, and another 78% from the developed countries.
As the household Internet access is approaching saturation levels in developed countries, developing countries hold sway for a brighter Internet future, it said. Mobile-cellular subscriptions will reach almost 7 billion by end-2014, and 3.6 billion of these will be in the Asia-Pacific region, who account for 78 percent of the world’s total.
“The newly released ICT (information and communications technology) figures confirm once again that information and communication technologies continue to be the key drivers of the information society,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure said.
Brahima Sanou, the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said the new figures are a watershed moment in the world’s growing affinity for ICT.
“Behind these numbers and statistics are real human stories. The stories of people whose lives have improved thanks to ICTs,” Sanou said, adding “our mission is to bring ICTs into the hands of ordinary people, wherever they live. By measuring the information society, we can track progress, or identify gaps, towards achieving socio-economic development for all”.
The ITU report said with 3 billion Internet users or 40 per cent of the world’s population, Africa will account for about one-fifth of the population, while in the Americas, nearly two-thirds of the population will be online by 2014.
Europe has the highest internet penetration rate of 75% and the Asia-Pacific has the largest population of Internet users.
On the mobile-broadband penetration, the number of its subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion globally and 55 per cent of them are expected to be in the developing world.
The report said fixed-telephone users have been declining for the last five years. In addition, there will be about 100 million fewer subscriptions than in 2009.