The Disparity in Internet Connectivity Across the Globe

According to recent data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), approximately 2.6 billion people worldwide, accounting for about one-third of the global population, remain unconnected to the internet. While progress has been made in increasing connectivity, there is a need to accelerate efforts to achieve universal and meaningful internet access by 2030.

ITU’s data indicates that the number of individuals worldwide without internet access has decreased to an estimated 2.6 billion in 2023, compared to 2.7 billion in 2022. This means that 67 percent of the world’s population, or 5.4 billion people, are now connected online.

The ITU secretary-general, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, has expressed satisfaction with this improvement in connectivity, asserting that it is a step in the right direction. However, she emphasizes that the ultimate goal is to ensure that meaningful internet access becomes a reality for everyone, everywhere.

Notably, low-income countries have witnessed the strongest growth in internet connectivity, with an estimated 17 percent increase in internet users over the past year. Nevertheless, less than one-third of individuals in these countries are currently connected to the internet.

ITU’s director of the Telecommunication Development Bureau, Cosmas Luckyson Zavazava, underscores the importance of considering the real impact of these statistics. He emphasizes that behind these numbers are individuals who are unable to access the internet and benefit from its transformative potential. Zavazava suggests that measuring and tracking data is critical to identifying where efforts should be concentrated to achieve meaningful internet access for all by 2030. Additionally, he calls for a focus on developing digital skills among individuals to equip them with the necessary abilities for value creation and a positive online experience.

Efforts to bridge the digital divide and ensure universal internet connectivity remain crucial in enabling individuals worldwide to access the benefits of the digital age.