Our connected world is becoming ever more connected, according to the latest State of Broadband report.
The report’s 2014 edition estimates that more than half of the global population will have internet access within three years’ time.
The report also says that mobile broadband via smartphones and tablets is now the fastest growing technology in human history.
Unveiled this week at a meeting of the UN’s Broadband Commission for Digital Development in New York, the report says that more than 40 per cent of the world’s people are already online, with the number of web users forecast to rise from 2.3 billion in 2013 to 2.9 billion by the end of this year.
It also says that 2.3 billion people will have mobile broadband access by the end of 2014, climbing to a predicted 7.6 billion within the next five years.
The 2014 edition of the report reveals that the top 10 countries for internet use are all located in Europe, with Iceland ranked first in the world with 96.5 per cent of people online.
The lowest levels of internet access are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with the web available to less than two per cent of the population in Ethiopia (1.9 per cent), Niger (1.7 per cent), Sierra Leone (1.7 per cent), Guinea (1.6 per cent), Somalia (1.5 per cent), Burundi (1.3 per cent), Eritrea (0.9 per cent) and South Sudan (no data available).
The list of the 10 least-connected nations also includes Myanmar (1.2 per cent) and Timor Leste (1.1 per cent).
South Korea continues to have the world’s highest household broadband penetration at more than 98 per cent, up from 97 per cent last year. Monaco now surpasses last year’s champion, Switzerland, as the world leader in fixed broadband penetration, at moe than 44 per cent of the population. There are now four economies (Monaco, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands) where penetration exceeds 40 per cent, up from just one (Switzerland) in 2013.
The US ranks 19th globally in terms of number of people online, ahead of other OECD countries such as Germany (20th) and Australia (21st), but behind the United Kingdom (12th), Japan (15th) and Canada (16th).
The US slid from 20th to 24th place for fixed-broadband subscriptions per capita, just behind Japan but ahead of Macao (China) and Estonia.
In total, there are now 77 countries where more than 50 per cent of the population is online, up from 70 in 2013.