UN estimates 3 billion Internet users by 2015

Tech EyeThe United Nations released a statement today with estimates on the coming six months internet user growth, globally. According to those numbers, there should be around 3 billion by the end of 2014.

Statistics have been gathered and presented by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a group that works to coordinate private and public sector efforts for global telecommunications access.

The majority of growth seems to be mobile, with an increase of almost 32%. A great deal of this is in Africa, where mobile broadband penetration is at its highest rates. In the Americas, two-thirds of the population should have regular online access before 2015 begins.

Do you remember last August when Facebook announced a partnership with several technology leaders in this area?  Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung were standing beside them as the initial founders of an initiative to increase internet access across the planet.

The ambitions seemed a bit high at the time. But with these new figures, coming from what is considered the most reliable and non-partisan group dealing with telecom, it suddenly seems more possible.

Behind these numbers and statistics are real human stories. The stories of people whose lives have improved thanks to ICTs [information and communications technologies], a statement by director Brahima Sanou said.

Our mission is to bring ICTs into the hands of ordinary people, wherever they live. By measuring the information society, we can track progress, or identify gaps, towards achieving socio-economic development for all.

It also shows the increasing importance of mobile technology on the developing world in particular. Smartphones are becoming cheaper everywhere, as new networks are placed in areas that never had access before.

Connecting isn’t the only purpose behind these efforts. Internet access opens the world, providing a solid platform that can be used for improving education. It opens channels for protesters to show the true conditions of situations no longer trusted to the media for non-biased reporting. It boosts the economy, and gives people access to lower cost goods they couldn’t otherwise afford.

There are so many benefits to establishing regular internet access in the developing world. It is nice to see companies acting on their promises to make it happen, with the numbers to back it up.


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