Services & Software

Global internet use is growing, but not everywhere

A UN agency says that although broadband networks are expanding across the Earth, not every is actually going online.

Almost half of the world's population will be online by the end of the year, a UN agency says.
Sarah Tew/CNET

A mobile phone for every person on Earth? Well, not quite. But according to an International Telecommunication Union report released today, there are as many mobile phone subscriptions as there are people living on the planet.

As the report notes, not everyone owns a phone. The reality is one of uneven mobile distribution, given that some people own multiple devices.

The same goes for overall internet use. Though the report from the UN agency says that broadband networks cover 84 percent of the world's population, only 47 percent will actually use the internet by the end of this year. Korea is the most connected country, while in less-developed nations of Africa only one person in 10 is online.

Released each year, the "Measuring the Information Society Report" researches internet and mobile phone use in 175 countries.