India’s global position in broadband penetration dropped from 125 in 2013 to 131 in 2014 out of 189 countries, according to the State of Broadband report by the United Nations.
The UN Broadband Commission’s report said 57 percent of the world’s people remain offline and unable to take advantage of the enormous economic and social benefits the internet can offer.
The report was released just ahead of the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit in New York and the parallel meeting of the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development on September 26.
The Broadband Commission comprises more than 50 leaders from across a range of government and industry sectors.
India ranked 80 among 133 developing countries on percentage of households with internet in 2014.
The broadband penetration level was 15.3 percent in 2014 compared to 13 percent penetration in 2013.
India scored 136th position in individuals using the internet in 2014, with 18 percent individuals using the internet.
It was an improvement over the 142nd position in 2013. “The UN SDG remind us that we need to measure global development by the number of those being left behind,” International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said.
“The market has done its work connecting the world’s wealthier nations, where a strong business case for network roll-out can easily be made,” Zhao, who serves as co-vice chairman of the commission with Unesco director-general Irina Bokova said.
“Our important challenge now is to find ways of getting the four billion people online who still lack the benefits of Internet connectivity, and this will be a primary focus of the Broadband Commission going forward,” he said.
‘The State of Broadband’ is a global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country-by-country data measuring broadband access against key advocacy targets set by the Commission in 2011.
New figures confirm that 3.2 billion people are now connected, up from 2.9 billion last year and equating to 43 percent of the global population.
But while access to the internet is approaching saturation levels in the developed world, internet is only accessible to 35 percent of people in developing countries.
The Asia-Pacific region now accounts for half of all active mobile broadband subscriptions, with Macao, China easily taking top place with 322 active mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 people – or just over three subscriptions per inhabitant – followed by second-ranked Singapore (156 subscriptions per 100 people) and Kuwait (140 subscriptions per 100 people), the report said.
In total, there are now 79 countries where over 50 percent of the population is online, up from 77 in 2014.
The top 10 countries for internet use are all located in Europe. The lowest levels of internet access are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa.