Almost half the world's households now online

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ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao addresses the 13th World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium (WTIS 2015) in Hiroshima, Japan. Photo: ITU/D. Woldu

By the end of this year, nearly half of the world's households, 46 per cent, will be online, up from 30 per cent just five years ago.

That's according to the annual Measuring the Information Society Report, from the world telecoms body, the ITU.

Matthew Wells reports.

A total of 3.2 billion people are now online according to the report, which is widely seen as the most reliable and impartial analysis on the state of global telecommunications development.

Although almost all of the world's population is now covered by mobile-cellular service, the picture for online connectivity varies greatly, according to where you live, says the report.

Jaroslaw Ponder, ITU Coordinator for Europe, said that greater levels of access in the developing world in particular, were essential to meeting the newly-agreed Sustainable Development Goals.

"95 per cent of the world's population is now covered by mobile cellular and signal, however, while 3G network coverage grew from 45 to 69% of world population between 2011-15, 3G networks remain absent from many rural areas in low-income countries, especially in Africa."

Korea ranks first in the body's ICT Development Index, and the report notes that all of the 167 economies included in the index showed an improvement between 2010 and 2015, meaning that communications access and use continues to grow steadily across the world.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'06"

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