Internet has become more affordable and ubiquitous, but the poorest remain excluded, says ITU
The cost of internet services has fallen globally in 2022, but the world’s poorest remain deprived of the opportunities this technology offers, according to a report published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
According to Report Facts and figures ITU, the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT)The Internet has become more affordable in all regions of the world and for all population groups regardless of income level.
However, the cost of the Internet remains a major barrier to Internet access, especially in low-income economies. The current global economic situation, characterized by high inflation, rising interest rates and high uncertainty, may make it even more difficult to achieve the goal of expanding Internet coverage in low-income areas.
” The Internet may be more affordable overall, but for billions of people around the world, this technology is still just as inaccessible. “, he said ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao. ” We must ensure that internet affordability continues to move in the right direction, even as the global economic downturn weighs increasingly on the economic prospects of many countries “.
Earlier in the year, the ITU reported that 2.7 billion people, or about a third of the world’s population, were still not connected to the Internet, which is an improvement over 2021. But it reveals a step back from the considerable progress that was created at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and at the height of the crisis.
” Internet access is increasing, but not as fast and equally around the world as it should be “, he said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Elected Director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau and ITU Secretary General. ” Those who do not have access to digital are still many. The challenge we face is to mobilize the resources that would enable everyone to benefit effectively from connectivity “.
Inequalities between men and women
Although women represent almost half of the world’s population, they are 259 million fewer than men with Internet access. According to the 2022 Facts and Figures report, only 63% of women will use the Internet in 2022, compared to 69% of men. The gender gap is even more worrying in low-income countries, where 21% of women are online, compared to 32% of men, a figure that has not improved since 2019.
Overall, the world has moved closer to gender equality over the past three years. We speak of gender equality when the percentage of female Internet users divided by the percentage of male Internet users is between 0.98 and 1.02. The score for gender equality has thus improved, from 0.90 in 2019 to 0.92 in 2022.
In general, the regions with the highest internet usage also have the highest gender equality scores. Conversely, many of the least developed and most vulnerable economies around the world are characterized by low internet usage, a low gender equality score and limited progress towards gender equality over the past three years.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations’ specialized agency for information and communication technologies (ICT). It promotes innovation in the ICT sector, together with 193 Member States and more than 900 private sector entities, academic and other institutions. Established more than 150 years ago, it is the intergovernmental organization responsible for coordinating the shared use of the radio frequency spectrum worldwide, encouraging international cooperation by sharing satellite orbits, strengthening communications infrastructure in developing countries and to established global standards that ensure seamless interconnection of a wide variety of communication systems. Whether it is broadband networks or modern wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, ocean observation and earth monitoring by satellite or the convergence between fixed and mobile telephony, the Internet or broadcast technologies, ITU is engaged to connect worlds.