QuoteGeneva, 19 October 2010 — ITU’s latest statistics published today in The World in 2010: ICT facts and figures reveal that the number of Internet users worldwide doubled in the past five years and will surpass the two billion mark in 2010. The number of people having access to the Internet at home has increased from 1.4 billion in 2009 to almost 1.6 billion in 2010. The new data were released on the eve of World Statistics Day, which will be celebrated worldwide on 20 October 2010.
162 million of the 226 million new Internet users in 2010 will be from developing countries, where Internet users grow at a higher rate. By the end of 2010, 71% of the population in developed countries will be online compared to 21% of the population in developing countries. While in developed countries 65% of people have access to the Internet at home, this is the case for only 13.5% of people in developing countries where Internet access in schools, at work and public locations is critical. Regional differences are significant: 65% of Europeans are on the Internet, compared to only 9.6% of Africans.
With the rapidly increasing high-bandwidth content and applications on the Internet, there is a growing demand for higher-speed broadband connections.
ITU considers broadband as a catalyst for growth. Recently, ITU and UNESCO launched the Broadband Commission for Digital Development that aims to promote the adoption of broadband-friendly practices and policies worldwide. ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré says, “Broadband is the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology. It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity, and underpin long-term economic competitiveness. It is also the most powerful tool that we have at our disposal in our race to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the deadline for which is now just five years away.”