Developing countries take the lead in global broadband adoption

by Steve Blum • , , , , ,

By the end of the year, 3 billion people will be on the Internet, according to the latest projections by the International Telecommunications Union. Of those, three-quarters will be getting broadband access via mobile networks (with or without wireline access, too), a five-fold jump since the end of 2008. The majority of Internet users will be in the developing world, according to the report

The new figures show that, by the end of 2014, there will be almost 3 billion Internet users, two-thirds of them coming from the developing world, and that the number of mobile-broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion globally. Fifty-five per cent of these subscriptions are expected to be in the developing world.

Growth in fixed broadband subscriptions is slowing, particularly in the developed world, where the growth rate is expected to slip to 3.5% in 2014, versus 4.8% in 2011. Growth is expected to fall back in the developing world, too, from 18% in 2011 to 6% in 2014.

Regionally, Europe is doing great: 75% of Europeans are using the Internet and 78% of homes have access. Africa is lagging far behind with only 19% of people online and 11% of homes having access.

In terms of speed, the top 19 countries are all in Europe or Asia, with the U.S. coming 20th. The ITU has not released country-by-country projections for broadband penetration in 2014, but in 2012, the last year for which data is available, the U.S. ranked 32nd in households with Internet access.

The ITU is the “United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies”, and collects telecoms statistics from governments and carriers worldwide.