UN: More than half of the world’s population will be internet users by the end of this year jaar

The International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency specializing in telecommunications, reports that by the end of 2018, an estimated 3.9 billion people on Earth will be using the internet.

If this estimate from the ITU is correct, that means 51.2 percent of the world’s population will be online by the end of 2018. According to Houlin Zhao, the secretary-general of the UN agency, it is the first time that more than 50 percent of the world’s population uses the internet. Brahima Sanou, a director of the ITU, says this estimate shows that there is a general upward trend when it comes to access to and use of ICT. In particular, there is an upward trend in the number of mobile connections.

At the same time, Sanou argues that affordability of using and accessing the internet is an issue and must be a top priority to make the digital economy a reality for all. Houlin Zhao also recognizes that there are still more than enough challenges. He says that there are still too many people in the world who are not yet able to reap the benefits of the digital economy.

The estimate is partly formed by strong growth in developing countries, where internet penetration rose from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 percent at the end of this year. For developed countries this was 51.3 percent in 2005 and 80.9 percent in 2018. Growth was strongest in Africa: from 2.1 percent in 2005 to 24.4 percent in 2018. In Europe, 79.6 percent use the internet, compared to 69.6 percent in the US.