Three quarters of people over the age of 10 have a smartphone

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Three quarters of human beings over the age of 10 have a smart phone

Internet access is growing globally, but not uniformly.< /p>

The United Nations (UN) revealed on Wednesday that nearly three-quarters of the world's population aged 10 and over own a phone that facilitates Internet access. However, almost a third of the world's population is deprived of this international network.

Cell phones are the most common gateway to the Internet. Its ownership rate serves as an indicator of internet availability and access, writes the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in its annual Global Connectivity Report.

However, not all smartphone owners have access to the web, especially in low-income countries, where broadband is often still too expensive.

< p class="e-p">According to figures collected by the ITU, 95% of people in rich countries have a cell phone. In disadvantaged countries, the penetration rate drops to 49%.

Internet access is progressing, but less quickly, after the jump recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic and its confinements which forced hundreds of millions of people to work or study online.

Today, an estimated 5.3 billion people, or 66% of the world's population, use the Internet. Almost all of those not connected are in the poorest countries.

This percentage has been steadily increasing in recent years and saw a big bump in 2020, ITU's chief economist, Thierry Geiger, told AFP. /p>

But there is still a long way to go, said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, who in early 2023 will become the first woman to lead this agency.

“Too many people still live in digital darkness. »

— Doreen Bogdan-Martin

Internet access is growing, but not as quickly and evenly around the world as it should, she added, in a statement on the report.

A benchmark measure of Internet access is the median price of mobile broadband services, often cheaper than fixed access.

These median prices fell from 1.9% of gross national income per person to 1.5% in 2022.

But the cost is still too high for many people in low-income countries where a mobile database plan costs 9% of average income.

C' is far more than the percentage paid in rich countries for similar services, according to the ITU, which has called on all countries to ensure affordable broadband access, which it defines as costing less than 2% of the monthly gross national income per person.

We must maintain internet accessibility even as the global recession hurts the economic prospects of many countries, outgoing ITU chief Houlin Zhao said in the statement.

Mr. Geiger points out that while the cost of connectivity appears to be continuing to decline, rising prices for basic necessities could force many people to go offline.

Even though the Internet access is increasingly seen as an essential service, food still prevails, he said. We will have to wait until next year to see the possible effects of the current crisis.

The persistent digital divide between rich and poor and also a gender divide.

While women make up around half of the world's population, some 259 million fewer than men have access to the Internet. Only 63% of women go online compared to 69% of men, according to the report.

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