3.2 billion will be online worldwide by the end of 2015

New figures released by the ITU (the UN agency for information and communication technologies) have shown that there will be 3.2 billion people online worldwide by the end of 2015.

The majority of those internet users – 2 billion of them – live in developing countries, according to the ITU’s analysts.

The organisation also noted that since the millennium, we have seen an increase in mobile subscriptions from 738 million to 7 billion worldwide, and internet penetration has increased massively from 6.5 per cent to 43 per cent of the global population.

Almost half of the homes across the world now have internet access (46 per cent), which is up from 18 per cent in 2005.

As for mobile broadband, the number of users surfing on their phones has increased by a factor of 12 since 2007, reaching 47 per cent this year.

The ITU also noted that of the 4 billion people who live in in built-up areas, 89 per cent will have 3G available to them by the end of the year. And when it comes to the 3.4 billion who are living in rural areas across the world, 29 per cent of them will have access to 3G.

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao commented: “These new figures not only show the rapid technological progress made to date, but also help us identify those being left behind in the fast-evolving digital economy, as well as the areas where ICT investment is needed most.”

Brahima Sanou, Director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, further observed: “ICTs will play an even more significant role in the post-2015 era and in achieving future Sustainable Development Goals as the world moves faster and faster towards a digital society. Our mission is to connect everyone and to create a truly inclusive information society, for which we need comparable and high-quality data and statistics to measure progress.”