The United Nations' Broadband Commission has published a new report whose headline finding is that 57 per cent of the human population — or around 4.2 billion people — will still not have access to the internet by the end of 2015.
Geographical location obviously plays a huge role in the prevalence of internet access. In fully developed countries over 80 per cent of people have a connection. In some of the world's poorest countries, the figure can be as low as 6.7 per cent. It serves to make the Broadband Commission's goal — to have 60 per cent of the world online by 2015 — look optimistic. Instead, that goal is likely to be met by 2021 at the earliest.
There is a glimmer of hope, in the form of mobile internet. In fact, the report suggests that the number of mobile data subscriptions could come close to matching the number of normal mobile phone subscriptions by 2020. That will mean that many of those living in areas that aren't served by phone lines have a better chance of getting online.
Image by Arrano under Creative Commons licence