Nearly Half of World Now Online, But Poorer Countries Remain Without

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By the end of this year, nearly half of the world’s population will be using the internet, according to a report by the U.N.’s International Telecommunications Union.

The continued rise in percent of humans online is primarily due to the growth of mobile networks and the reduction of prices. But overall, internet users remain concentrated in the developed world, the United Nations agency said.

For example, in Africa’s poorer countries, only about 10% of people has access to the internet. Those less educated, older, poorer, and in rural areas are less likely to be online, according to the report.

“To bring more people online, it is important to focus on reducing overall socio-economic inequalities,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Education and income levels are strong determinants of whether or not people use the Internet.”

Right now, 47% of the world’s population is online. This means almost four billion people are not. The potential is there, however: mobile-broadband networks cover 84% of the world’s population.

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