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The United Nations International Telecommunications Union has announced that by the end 2014, there will be nearly three billion Internet users – two-thirds of them from the developing world (pdf). Mobile-broadband penetration is now approaching 32 per cent.

Internet users, according to the ITU report, are expected to hit 3 billion by the end of 2014, which accounts for about 40 per cent of the world’s population.

People from developing countries make up more than 90 per cent of those who are not yet using the Internet.

In Africa, about one-fifth of the population will have access to the Internet; while in the Americas, nearly two-thirds of the population will be online by the end of the year. Europe has the highest Internet penetration rate of 75 per cent, while the Asia-Pacific region has the largest population of Internet users.

Mobile-broadband remains the fastest growing market segment. Mobile-broadband penetration will achieve 2.3 billion globally this year with 55 per cent of them expected to be in the developing world. Africa takes the lead in its growth, from 2 percent in 2010 to almost 20 percent in 2014.

The ITU report expects its fixed broadband penetration to reach 10 per cent by end 2014. Similar to Internet subscriptions, Asia-Pacific region also dominates the most users in fixed-broadband, while Africa has the least, with lower than 0.5 per cent of its population.

The number of mobile-cellular subscribers will reach 7 billion by end of 2014, with developing countries home to over 75 per cent among the users. Many people have multiple accounts.

According to ITU, fixed-telephone users have been declining for the last five years. In addition, there will be about 100 million fewer subscriptions than in 2009.

ITU statistics are widely recognized as the world’s most reliable and impartial global data on the state of the global ICT industry. They are used extensively by leading intergovernmental agencies, financial institutions and private sector analysts worldwide.

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