ITU’s flagship annual Measuring the Information Society Report, released today, reveals that 3.2 billion people are now online, representing 43.4% of the global population, while mobile-cellular subscriptions have reached almost 7.1 billion worldwide, with over 95% of the global population now covered by a mobile-cellular signal.
The report also notes that all 167 economies included in the ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI) improved their IDI values between 2010 and 2015 – meaning that levels of information and communication technology (ICT) access, use and skills continue to improve all around the world.
The Measuring the Information Society 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, international organizations, development banks and private sector analysts worldwide.
By the end of this year, 46% of households globally will have Internet access at home, up from 44% last year and just 30% five years ago, in 2010. In the developed world, 81.3% of households now have home Internet access, compared to 34.1% in the developing world, and just 6.7% in the 48 UN-designated Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
Latest data show that growth in Internet use has slowed down, however, posting 6.9% global growth in 2015, after 7.4% growth in 2014. Nonetheless, the number of Internet users in developing countries has almost doubled in the past five years (2010-2015), with two thirds of all people online now living in the developing world.
Fastest growth continues to be seen in mobile broadband, with the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide having grown more than four-fold in five years, from 0.8 billion in 2010 to an estimated 3.5 billion in 2015. The number of fixed-broadband subscriptions has risen much more slowly, to an estimated 0.8 billion today.
Over 95% of the global population is now covered by mobile-cellular services, meaning that there are still an estimated 350 million people worldwide who live in places which are still out of reach of a mobile network – a figure that has dropped from 450 million a year ago. But while 89% of the world’s urban population is now covered by a 3G network, only 29% of the world’s 3.4 billion people living in rural areas benefit from 3G coverage.
ICT Development Index country rankings: widening gaps
In 2015, the Republic of Korea is ranked at the top of ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI)*, a composite measurement that ranks 167 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills. Republic of Korea is closely followed by Denmark and Iceland, in second and third place.
The IDI top 30 ranking includes countries from Europe and high-income nations from other regions including Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Canada, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Macao (China), New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. Almost all countries surveyed improved their IDI ranking this year.
Over the past five years, there has been a widening of the gap in IDI values between countries ranked in the middle and those towards the bottom of the distribution. In the LDCs, the IDI grew less compared to other developing countries and LDCs are falling behind in particular in the IDI ‘use’ sub-index, which could impact on their ability to derive development gains from ICTs.
The report identifies a group of ‘most dynamic countries’, which have recorded above-average improvements in their IDI rank over the past five years. These include (in order of greatest change in IDI ranking): Costa Rica, Bahrain, Lebanon, Ghana, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Oman.
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- *Annex 5 features the statistical tables of prices used to compute the ICT Price Basket. It includes detailed price data for 191 countries broken down by cost of fixed- telephone, mobile-cellular and fixed-broadband services, for the year 2014.