And most of them are viewing cat videos or porn

The United Nations International Telecommunications Union (ITU) delivered its annual report on the state of the global internet and telecommunications industry, and it came with the latest milestone in the internet's slow-rolling path to global domination.

With the global population set to reach around 7.25 billion people this year, the internet population will hit three billion users before the end of the year.

Fiber in hand
[Image Source: Comsoft]

Here's some quick facts on the ITU findings:
  • Internet Connections (all kinds) by Dec. 31, 2014
    • ~40% of the global population (3 billion people) have internet access
    • ~10% (~730 million people) have access to fixed-broadband connections
    • Developing Nations
      • Typically defined as regions where income is <$10 USD per day
      • ~5.8 billion people
      • ~67% of internet users are from "developing nations" (~2 billion)
      • ~35% of citizens in these regions (roughly 1 in 3 people) are connected
      • ~90% of the world's population which lacks an internet connection resides in the developing world.
    • Developed Nations
      • ~1.45 billion people
      • ~33% of internet users are from developed nations (~1 billion)
      • ~69% of citizens of these regions (more than 2/3rds) are connected
  • Mobile-Broadband
    • ~2.3 billion connected users
    • Double-digit growth rates (fastest growing telecommunications segment)
    • Developing Nations
      • ~55% of users come from these regions (1.27b users) 
      • ~78% of citizens in these regions (4b+ people) have no access
    • Developed Nations
      • ~45%  of users come from these regions (1.03b users)
      • ~29%  of citizens in these regions lack access
  • Geographic Trends
    • Africa
      • ~20% of population have internet access (1 in 5 people)
      • ~20% of population has  mobile-broadband, making this the fastest growing mobile internet region
      • ~0.5% of population have fixed-broadband access (1 in 200 people)
    • Americas
      • ~67% of population has internet access
    • Europe
      • ~75% of population has internet access, the highest in any region
    • Asia-Pacific
      • Most internet users (China, India boost)
      • Most fixed-broadband users
  • Cellular Telephone Use
    • 7 billion connected devices (nearly 1 per person worldwide)
    • Developing Nations
      • 75% of cell phones (~5.3b)
    • Developed Nations
      • 25% of cell phones (~1.7b)
  • Fixed Telephone Use
Hamadoun I. Touré, Ph.D (Mali), ITU Secretary-General, comments:

The newly released ICT [information and communications technology] figures confirm once again that information and communication technologies continue to be the key drivers of the information society.

Adds Brahima Sanou (Burkina Faso), the Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau:

Behind these numbers and statistics are real human stories. The stories of people whose lives have improved thanks to ICTs.  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.

If we want to understand the information society, we have to measure it without measurement we cannot track progress or identify gaps which require our attention.
global internet
[Image Source: LatinLink]

Whether you're Facebook, Inc. (FB), Google Inc. (GOOG), or the ITU, progress these days is measured in "the next billion".  Internet use in war-torn, impoverished regions like Africa or the restrictive religious regimes of the Middle East, is expected to faces key obstacles to growth. However, there remains potential to transform these countries in these regions into more modern, prosperous states.

Internet usage has been steadily growing in developed regions since the 1980s.  It was only in 2009 that "just" 1 billion people had access to an internet connection.  The next billion (2 billion connected users) was reached in 2010.  And now at last the next billion is within sight. 

Source: UN

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