A new report has revealed that the global growth of broadband has slowed down sharply, with 57% of the world’s population still offline.
The new figures from the 2015 edition of the State of Broadband report, published by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), revealed that the number of people online across the world has increased to 3.2 billion, up from 2.9 billion last year.
However, while access to the internet is approaching saturation levels in the developed world, the report reveals that some 4 billion people, or 57% of the global population, remain offline.
Only 35% of those living in developing countries have access to the internet. In the 48 nations designated by the UN as the least developed countries, 90%of the people are without Internet connectivity.
Currently, there are 79 countries where more than 50% of the population are online. The top ten countries for Internet use are all situated in Europe, while the lowest levels of access are mostly identified in sub-Saharan Africa.
ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao said: "The UN Sustainable Development Goals remind us that we need to measure global development by the number of those being left behind."
UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said: "The 2030 Agenda recognizes the power of new technologies to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide, to develop knowledge societies – we must do everything to support States in reaching these goals, especially developing States.
"This calls for stronger efforts by governments and all actors, in ensuring access, use and affordability – it requires also greater work to build the capacities of all women and men to make the most of all new opportunities."