Over three billion people are now online and information and communication technology (ICT) growth remains buoyant in just about every country worldwide, according to ITU’s flagship annual Measuring the Information Society Report.
The report is widely recognized as the repository of the world’s most reliable and impartial global data and analysis on the state of global ICT development, and is extensively relied upon by governments, financial institutions and private sector analysts worldwide.
Latest data show that Internet use continues to grow steadily, at 6.6% globally in 2014 (3.3% in developed countries, 8.7% in the developing world). The number of Internet users in developing countries has doubled in five years (2009-2014), with two thirds of all people online now living in the developing world.
Of the 4.3 billion people not yet using the Internet, 90% live in developing countries. In the world’s 42 Least Connected Countries (LCCs), which are home to 2.5 billion people, access to ICTs remains largely out of reach, particularly for these countries’ large rural populations.
In the mobile cellular segment, the report estimates that by end 2014 there will be seven billion mobile subscriptions, roughly corresponding to the total global population. But it warns against concluding that everyone is connected; instead, many users have multiple subscriptions, with global growth figures sometimes translating into little real improvement in the level of connectivity of those at the very bottom of the pyramid. An estimated 450 million people worldwide live in places which are still out of reach of mobile cellular service.
Denmark ranked Number One in ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI)*, a composite measurement that ranks 166 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. It is followed by the Republic of Korea.
The IDI top 30-ranking include countries from Europe and high-income nations from other regions including Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Japan, Macao (China), New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. Almost all countries surveyed improved their IDI ranking this year.
In terms of regional comparisons, Europe’s average IDI value of 7.14 remains well ahead of the next best-performing region, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – 5.33), followed by the Americas (4.86), Asia & the Pacific (4.57), the Arab States (4.55), and Africa at 2.31.
The CIS and the Arab States showed the highest improvement in regional IDI averages over the past 12 months.C
The steadily growing number of Internet users has been reflected in a steep increase in the volume of online content. Social media applications are contributing significantly to driving Internet use, as more and more people create, share and upload content onto social sites.
According to the report, a handful of giants have emerged as major global content providers. For example, more than 100 hours of video content are uploaded every minute on YouTube, which is now the world’s largest video file-sharing service with services in 61 countries and over one billion unique visitors every month, while Wikipedia, the largest and most widely used online encyclopaedia, now features over 30 million articles in 287 languages.
Developed countries dominate Internet content production, with domain-name registrations from the developed world accounting for 80% of all new registrations in 2013, and registrations from Africa accounting for less than 1%.
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