As more devices than ever can be connected to the Internet, the global online population hits 3 billion people.
Aside from cat videos and hilarious memes, the Internet can actually be an incredibly valuable technology tool. Not only does it provide us with tons of information (it is the ‘information super highway after all) but it provides us with new opportunities too.
With the Internet we can find out about important local news or even take part (social media helped several countries stage democratic uprisings recently), we can gain access to information about better healthcare and find out things that can actively improve our lives. A fair few people even use the Internet to find work.
So the reveal today that three billion people use the Internet is fantastic. But, with over 7 billion of us living on the planet, there’s still plenty to do until everyone in the world is online.
Broken down by the UN’s International Telecommunication’s Union (ITU) in their latest “Measuring the Information Society” report, Internet usage is growing. The global average for growth is 6.6%, which is made up of 8.7% in developed countries (the United States, Canada, France and other countries like these) and 3.3% of growth in those that are developing.
But, while those growth points are good, the largest chunk of people not online are in developing countries. ITU says that of the 4.3 billion people not yet online, approximately 90% of them live in the developing world.
So how is ITU going to change that, and make it so that it’s not just richer countries that are benefitting from the web? As part of their “Connect 2020 Agenda for Global Telecommunication/ICT Development” ITU hopes to bring a further 1.5 billion people into the online fray by 2020.
They want to open up the wireless spectrum that’s used for TV broadcasts to make Internet access cheaper, but this may still be a struggle for those who already have little money to part with. However as ITU secretary-general Dr Hamadoun I Touré says that technology and the Internet can make the world a “much better place, in particular for those who are the poorest and the most disenfranchised, including women, youth, and those with disabilities,” they seem incredibly committed to the cause at least.
Be social! Follow Walyou on Facebook and Twitter, and read more related stories, Push button, receive bacon: early internet meme comes to life, Google’s Project Loon for Internet everywhere will begin in Australia