2.7 billion people still do not have internet access in 2022

In 2022, although great progress has been made to connect the world’s population, there are still 2.7 billion people, or one third of the inhabitants of the planet, who do not have access to the internet. This is according to a press release recently published by the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations development agency specializing in information and communication technologies.

According to the agency’s estimates, before the pandemic, in 2019, there were 3.6 billion people offline, or half of the world’s population. In 2021, this number was estimated at 3 billion people.

On the other side, today there are 5.3 billion internet users in the world. The ITU welcomes the growth observed in recent years, but also raises its concerns about a slowdown in this growth which is already observed.

Connecting the remaining third of humanity will be a difficult task, according to the agency. “Most relatively easy-to-connect communities now have access to technologies such as mobile broadband, which is driving the rapid and widespread adoption of digital services. Those who are still offline mostly live in remote and hard-to-reach areas”explains this one.

The goal of universal connectivity in 2030 may not be achieved

The ITU also talks about moving people from basic connectivity to “meaningful” connectivity. A more complex task, but which would make access more regular, while improving the lives of users. Among the obstacles to this improvement in use, there is the speed of the connection which is sometimes slow, the price of the equipment to connect, or the prices of the subscription packages. The UN agency also cites insufficient digital skills, as well as language and literacy barriers.

“While the increase in the number of people using the internet around the world is positive, we should not assume that the robust growth seen in recent years will continue unabated. Those who don’t yet use the Internet will be the hardest to get online. They live in remote areas, often belong to disadvantaged groups and, in some cases, do not know the benefits of the Internet. That’s why our target must be not just universal connectivity, but universal meaningful connectivity.”said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau.

The goal is to have universal connectivity by 2030. But the agency now warns that without increased investment and an effort to raise awareness about digital skills, that goal will not be achieved.

Europe is the most connected region

The International Telecommunications Union has also published some figures by region, highlighting inequalities. In Europe, the most connected region, 89% of the population is online.

This rate is 80% for the Americas, the Commonwealth of Independent States (Commonwealth), and Europe combined. 64% for Asia Pacific, and 70% for Arab countries.

The lowest rate is in Africa, where 40% of the population is online. But the continent has seen a 13% increase in internet penetration in one year.

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