NEWS | 1 Nov 2016

Half the world’s population is still offline

Internet access is approaching saturation in the developed world. At the same time, however, half the world’s population is still offline. Iceland and Finland are world leaders in Internet use and mobile broadband subscriptions, respectively. All this according to the report State of Broadband 2016.

report State of Broadband 2016The ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission has published its annual broadband connectivity report. It shows that globally, an estimated 3.9 billion people – 53 per cent of the world’s population – are not using the Internet. But the countries in which these offline populations are concentrated are few.

For example, three nations with huge populations – China, India and Indonesia – together account for 45 per cent of all unconnected people. The findings suggest that targeted efforts in a few key markets could help in redressing the digital divide between those who are online and those who are still offline.

Iceland global number one in Internet use
Among the Nordic countries, Iceland stands out as having the highest share of individuals using the Internet worldwide (98 per cent), with Norway and Denmark close behind, ranking third and fourth.

Finland has the world’s highest share of active mobile broadband subscriptions, with 144 subscriptions per 100 people. Sweden and Denmark are sixth and seventh. Denmark is also one of seven economies – in fourth place – where fixed broadband penetration exceeds 40 per cent.

Five key targets for global ICT development
The Broadband Commission measures the ICT development against five key targets: growth in the number of countries with national broadband plans; making broadband affordable; connecting homes to broadband; getting people online; and achieving gender equality in access to broadband.

Among the positive results in this year’s report are an increasing number of national broadband plans and a growing global share of broadband households. On the negative side is a slightly widened gender gap, as well as the observation that few of the least developed countries have succeeded in making broadband affordable.

Read more and download the report


About the Broadband Commission: The Commission was established by ITU and UNESCO in 2010, in response to the UN’s call to step up efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Following the adoption of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, the Commission was re-launched as the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development to showcase and document the power of ICT and broadband-based technologies for sustainable development. The Commission embraces a range of different perspectives in a multi-stakeholder approach to promoting the rollout and use of broadband for development. Read more.