Economy, Sci & Tech

UN: Most People Still Offline

UN: Most People Still OfflineUN: Most People Still Offline

Growth in the number of people with access to Internet is slowing and more than half the world's population is still offline, the United Nations Broadband Commission said on Monday.

Internet access in rich economies is reaching saturation levels, but 90% of people in the 48 poorest countries have none, its report said.

According to Reuters, the access growth rate is expected to slow to 8.1% this year, down from 8.6% in 2014. Until 2012, growth rates had been in double digits for years.

"We have reached a transition point in the growth of the Internet," the report said.

The commission, set up in 2010 by the International Telecommunication Union and UNESCO, the UN scientific and cultural agency, said the milestone of four billion Internet users was unlikely to be passed before 2020.

It said growth in Facebook subscribers was outpacing growth in the Internet.

"Over half the world’s population–some 57%, or more than 4 billion people–still do not use the Internet regularly or actively," the report said.

By the end of this year, 3.2 billion people will have some form of regular access to the Internet, up from 2.9 billion in 2014. That is 43.4% of the world’s population, still far short of a UN target of 60% by 2020.