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Half The Global Population Uses The Internet: ITU Report

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness.

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Nigeria, Population
Youths are seen browsing the internet inside the venue of the launch of Google free wifi project in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

The International Telecommunication Union reports that for the first time in history, half of the global population is using the internet. A new report finds by the end of the year, 3.9 billion people worldwide will be online.

The report finds access to and use of information and communication technologies around the world is trending upwards. It notes most internet users are in developed countries, with more than 80 percent of their populations online. But it says internet use is steadily growing in developing countries, increasing from 7.7 percent in 2005 to 45.3 percent this year.

The International Telecommunication Union says Africa is the region with the strongest growth, where the percentage of people using the internet has increased from just over two percent in 2005 to nearly 25 percent in 2018.

Somalia, Population
A Somali man browses the internet on his mobile phone at a beach in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. VOA

The lowest growth rates, it says, are in Europe and the Americas, with the lowest usage found in the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition to data on internet usage, newly released statistics show mobile access to basic telecommunication services is becoming more predominant. ITU Senior Statistician, Esperanza Magpantay says access to higher speed mobile and fixed broadband also is growing.

“So, there is almost 96 percent of the population who are now covered by mobile population signal of which 90 percent are covered by 3G access. So, this is a high figure, and this helps explain why we have this 51 percent of the population now using the internet,” she said.

With the growth in mobile broadband, Magpantay says there has been an upsurge in the number of people using the internet through their mobile devices.

Nairobi, Population
Young men surf the internet at a cyber cafe on June 20, 2012 in Kibera slum in Nairobi.

The ITU says countries that are hooked into the digital economy do better in their overall economic well-being and competitiveness. Unfortunately, it says the cost of accessing telecommunication networks remains too high and unaffordable for many.

Also Read: Global Care Crisis Rises Along With Growing Population

It says prices must be brought down to make the digital economy a reality for the half the world’s people who do not, as yet, use the internet. (VOA)

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Is Internet Usage In India Calculated In A right Manner?

According to industry experts, the research methodology to derive the average number of Internet users would entail a large-format survey.

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internet
According to Mohanty, Internet usage is calculated based on the number of people using Internet. Pixabay

If we look at government or independent research figures, Internet users in India are growing exponentially — currently hovering around 560 million and likely to cross 600 million by the end of the year.

According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India has amn Internet subscriber base of nearly 560 million, including 482 million broadband subscribers – which means 43 per cent overall Internet penetration.

The country has 366 million Internet subscribers in urban locations and 194 million in rural areas, says the latest TRAI report that came out in December.

The “ICUBETM 2018” report from market research firm Kantar IMRB said this week that the number of Internet users in the country will reach 627 million by the end of this year.

The numbers are overwhelming but when it comes to the methodology behind deriving the average number of Internet users, there appears some gap.

For example, if a person in a family has 2 mobile numbers and he or she uses multiple devices for Internet access, how is that accounted for?

According to industry experts, the research methodology to derive the average number of Internet users would entail a large-format survey.

“Such a survey would typically cover 50,000 to 1,00,000 households in India, spread across urban and rural India, and covering all socio-economic classes (SEC) segments,” says Satya Mohanty, Head-User Research Practice, CyberMedia Research (CMR).

According to Mohanty, Internet usage is calculated based on the number of people using Internet.

“Therefore, if in one household, there are three people using one device PC/smartphone, then it is calculated as three users instead of one user,” he told IANS.

internet
The numbers are overwhelming but when it comes to the methodology behind deriving the average number of Internet users, there appears some gap. Pixabay

The average number of users derived from the sample survey is extrapolated to the total number of households in India to find out total number of users.

“For example, consider that the survey findings point to the average number of Internet users per household being 2.5. And, in India, there is 250 million households. Replicating the average figure of 2.5 with the total number of households, we have 625 million Internet users in India,” Mohanty elaborated.

According to Kantar IMRB, their latest “ICUBETM 2018” report covered over 70,000 individuals, selected through a sampling process across over 400 urban areas and more than 1,500 rural locations.

mbile phone
“As data costs plummeted, more Indians than ever before are experiencing broadband for the first time on mobile”. Pixabay

“ICUBE members are of users and not subscribers. Thus people carrying multiple phones will be counted as a single user,” Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice President, Kantar IMRB, told IANS.

Similarly, Bhattacharjee added, a person using his or her spouses/parents’ phone for Internet access will also be counted as an Internet user.

One thing, however, is clear: the data usage is growing thanks to Reliance Jio, along with the increasing number of smartphone and entry-level feature phone users.

Also Read: Syria Rejects OPCW Report, States It “Full Of Flagrant Falsification Of Facts”

“Jio has been a transformative force in enabling digital inclusion, by connecting the unconnected. Since its foray, Jio has achieved a remarkable feat of covering 95 per cent of India’s population with aggressive 4G network roll-out aided by innovative pricing strategy,” Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, told IANS.

“As data costs plummeted, more Indians than ever before are experiencing broadband for the first time on mobile,” Ram added. (IANS)