Qatar is only MENA Country in Top 10 for Internet Connnection; Broadband goes wireless – but poorer countries being left behind
New York, US and Doha, Qatar: Mobile broadband is the fastest-growing technology in human history, according to the 2013 edition of the State of BroadbandReport.
In terms of Internet use, there are now more than 70 countries where over 50% of the population is online. The top ten countries for Internet use are all located in Europe, with the exception of New Zealand (8th) and Qatar (10th).
Released in New York at the 8th meeting of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, the report reveals that mobile broadband subscriptions, which allow users to access the web via smartphones, tablets and WiFi-connected laptops, are growing at a rate of 30% per year. By the end of 2013 there will be more than three times as many mobile broadband connections as there are conventional fixed broadband subscriptions.
The State of Broadband is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by country data measuring broadband access against the four key targets set by the 60 members of the Broadband Commission in 2011.
The Republic of Korea continues to have the world's highest household broadband penetration at over 97%. Switzerland leads the world in fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, at over 40%. By comparison, the US ranks 24th in terms of household broadband penetration, and 20th in the world for fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, just behind Finland and ahead of Japan.
"The new analysis in this year's report shows progress in broadband availability, but we must not lose sight of those who are being left behind," said ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. TourÉ, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Commission with UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova."While more and more people are coming online, over 90% of people in the world's 49 Least Developed Countries remain totally unconnected. Internet – and particularly broadband Internet – has become a key tool for social and economic development, and needs to be prioritized, even in the world's poorest nations. Technology combined with relevant content and services can help us bridge urgent development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment."
"The global roll-out of broadband carries vast potential to enhance learning opportunities, to facilitate the exchange of information, and to increase access to content that is linguistically and culturally diverse," said UNESCO'sIrina Bokova."It can widen access to learning, enhance its quality and empower men and women, girls and boys, with new skills and opportunities. But this does not happen by itself – it requires leadership, planning and action."