Internet: three-quarters of humans over the age of 10 will have a mobile phone in 2022

Nearly three-quarters of humans over the age of 10 have in 2022 a mobile phone facilitating access to the internet, and nearly a third of the world’s population is still deprived of this international network, the UN said on Wednesday. “Mobile phones are the most common gateway to the internet, and ownership rates serve as an indicator of internet availability and access,” writes the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in its annual Connectivity Report. world.

However, not all laptop owners have access to the internet, especially in low-income countries, where broadband is often too expensive. According to figures collected by the ITU, 95% of people in rich countries have a cell phone while in underprivileged countries the penetration rate drops to 49%.

5.3 billion people use the internet

Internet access is progressing but less quickly, after the jump recorded during the Covid pandemic and its confinements which forced hundreds of millions of people to work or study online. Today, an estimated 5.3 billion people, or 66% of the world’s population, use the internet. Almost all of those who are not connected are in the poorest countries. This percentage has steadily increased in recent years and experienced a strong “bump” in 2020, ITU chief economist Thierry Geiger told AFP.

But there is still a long way to go, because “too many people still live in digital darkness”, said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, who in early 2023 will become the first woman to lead this agency. Internet access is growing, but not as quickly and evenly around the world as it should be,” she added, in a statement to the report.

Median Mobile Broadband Price

A benchmark measure of internet access is the median price of mobile broadband services, which are often less expensive than fixed access. These median prices have fallen from 1.9% of gross national income per capita to 1.5% in 2022. But the cost is still too high for many consumers in low-income countries where a database plan mobiles costs 9% of average income.

That’s far more than the percentage paid in wealthy countries for similar services, according to the ITU, which has called on all countries to ensure affordable broadband access, which it defines as costing less than 2% of national income. monthly gross per capita. “We must maintain internet accessibility even as the global recession hits the economic prospects of many countries,” outgoing ITU chief Houlin Zhao said in the statement.

A future massive disconnection to come?

Thierry Geiger points out that even if the cost of connectivity seems to continue to fall, the rise in the price of basic necessities could force many people to go offline. Even though internet access is increasingly seen as an essential service, “food still prevails”, he said. We will have to wait until next year to see the possible effects of the current crisis.

The persistent digital divide between rich and poor and also a gender divide. While women make up around half of the world’s population, some 259 million fewer than men have internet access and only 63% of women go online compared to 69% of men, the report says.

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Internet: three-quarters of humans over the age of 10 will have a mobile phone in 2022

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