ITU: 3.9 billion Still Offline

According to just-released data from the International Telecommunications Union, over half (53%) of the world's population (3.9 billion people) are not online, even though the price of broadband continues to go down.

Although there are now far more people online in developing countries (2.5 billion) than developed (1 billion), penetration rates in developing countries are only half (40%) those of developing countries (81%).

That is according to the ITU's latest edition of its ICT (Information and Communication Technologies Facts and Figures, which was released Friday (July 22).

The report said that mobile broadband networks at 3G or above reach 84% of the world's population, but only 67% of rural populations.

Mobile broadband is leading the ICT price drop, with mobile service now on average half the cost of fixed broadband.

The ITU has set an affordability target for developing nations of less than 5% of average monthly income. It says that as of the end of 2015, 83% of developing countries had met that target. But it added that for many developing nations the percentage is more like 2%.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.