ITU: 95% of World Covered By Mobile Broadband

The latest global broadband report from the International Telecommunications Union finds that over three billion people are now online and that over 95% of the global population is "covered" by a mobile cellular signal.

That is according to the Measuring the Information Society Report released today following ITU's World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva, which wrapped up last week.

The report projected that, by the end of the year, 46% of households will have Internet access at home, up from 44% last year and 30% five years ago. ITU predicts that, but 2020, 56% will have Internet access at home, topping its goal of 55% set in the ITU Connect 2020 Agenda goals adopted in 2014.

Growth in Internet use has slowed, up 6.9% in 2015 vs. 7.4% in 2014, but use in developing countries as almost doubled in the past five years, it added.

Mobile continues to be the growth sector, with subscriptions increasing four-fold in the past five years from .8 billion to 3.5 billion.

The report also found that broadband prices continue to fall worldwide, with mobile cellular down to 14% of gross national income (GNI) per capital versus 29% in 2008.

Fixed broadband remains unaffordable in the least developed countries at a whopping 98% of GNI.

According to ITU's ICT Development Index, a composite of access, use and skills, the Republic of Korea remained in the top spot, with Denmark moving up to the second spot from number four in 2010. Iceland remained at number three while the UK made a big jump from number 10 in 2010 to number 4 in 2015.

The U.S. came in at number 15, up a slot from 16 in 2010, but remained number one in the Americas.

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.