Some 3.9 billion people are now using the Internet, meaning that for the first time more than half of the global population is online, the United Nations said Friday.
The UN agency for information and communication technologies, ITU, said that by the end of 2018 a full 51.2 per cent of people around the world will be using the Internet.
"This represents an important step towards a more inclusive global information society," he said, adding though that "far too many people around the world are still waiting to reap the benefits of the digital economy".
He called for more support to "technology and business innovation so that the digital revolution leaves no one offline."
According to ITU, the world's richest countries have been showing slow and steady growth in Internet use, which has risen from 51.3 per cent of their populations in 2005 to 80.9 per cent now.
The gains have meanwhile been more dramatic in developing countries, where 45.3 per cent of people are currently online, compared to just 7.7 per cent 13 years ago.
The report also showed that while fixed-line telephone subscriptions continue to dwindle worldwide, to a current level of just 12.4 per cent, the number of mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions is now greater than the global population.
And it found that mobile broadband subscriptions have skyrocketed from just four subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in 2007 to 69.3 today.
There are currently a full 5.3 billion active mobile broadband subscriptions worldwide, ITU found.
At the same time, the report said that nearly the entire world population, a full 96 per cent, now lives within reach of a mobile cellular network, and 90 per cent of people can access the Internet through a 3G or higher speed network.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)