BY EMEKA AGINAM
Efforts aggregated by several stakeholders in Africa to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through broadband access has started yielding expected results as the latest statistics released by the International Telecommunication Union , ITU, on Monday indicated that global mobile-broadband penetration will reach 32 per cent by end 2014 in developing economies.
ITU statistics are widely recognized as the world’s most reliable and impartial global data on the state of the global ICT industry.
Accordingly, the new figure by end 2014, there will be almost 3 billion Internet users, two-third of them coming from the developing world.
This corresponds to an Internet-user penetration of 40 per cent globally, 78 per cent in developed countries and 32 per cent in developing countries. More than 90 per cent of the people who are not yet using the Internet are from the developing world.
In Africa, almost 20 per cent of the population will be online by end 2014, up from 10 per cent in 2010.
Highest penetration rate
In the Americas, close to two out of three people will be using the Internet by end of 2014, the second highest penetration rate after Europe.
Europe’s Internet penetration will reach 75 per cent meaning that three out of four people by end there, will be using internet by end of 2014, the highest worldwide.
One-third of the population in Asia and the Pacific will be online by end of 2014 and around 45 per cent of the world’s Internet users will be from the Asia-Pacific region.
In developed countries, the figure further indicated that mobile-broadband penetration will reach 84 per cent, a level four times as high as in developing countries (21%).
Similarly, the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions, according to the figure will reach 2.3 billion globally and 55 per cent of all mobile-broadband subscriptions are expected to be in the developing world.
By end of 2014, fixed-broadband penetration, according to the figure would have reached almost 10 per cent globally.
Forty-four per cent of all fixed-broadband subscriptions are in Asia and the Pacific, and 25 per cent are in Europe.
In contrast, Africa accounts for less than 0.5 per cent of the world’s fixed-broadband subscriptions, and despite double-digit growth over the last four years, penetration in Africa remains very low.
Africa, the Arab States, and CIS are the only regions with double-digit fixed-broadband penetration growth rates. The Americas region stands out with the lowest growth in fixed broadband penetration, estimated at 2.5 per cent and reaching a penetration rate of around 17 per cent by end of 2014. Europe’s fixed-broadband penetration is much higher compared with other regions and almost three times as high as the global average.
Home internet access
According to the new figure, Home internet access approaches saturation levels in developed countries.
By end of 2014, 44 per cent of the world’s households will have Internet access.
Close to one-third (31%) of households in developing countries will be connected to the Internet, compared with 78 per cent in developed countries.
The analysis shows that household Internet access is approaching saturation levels in developed countries.
More than one out of two households in the CIS will be connected to the Internet. In Africa, only about one out of ten households will be connected to the Internet. However, household Internet access in Africa continues to grow at double-digit rates.
Mobile-broadband penetration levels
Mobile-broadband penetration levels are highest in Europe (64%) and the Americas , 59%, followed by CIS, 49%, the Arab States, 25%, Asia-Pacific -23%), and Africa 19% respectively.
The number of mobile-broadband subscriptions, according to the new figure by ITU will reach 2.3 billion globally. Fifty-five per cent of these subscriptions are expected to be in the developing world.
By end of 2014, the new figure from the ITU also informed that there will be almost 3 billion Internet users, two-thirds of them coming from the developing world.
Fixed line subscriptions on decline.
According to ITU results, fixed-telephone penetration has been declining for the past five years. By end of 2014, there will be about 100 million fewer fixed-telephone subscriptions than in 2009.