ITU: 4 Of 5 People In LDCs Can Access Mobile Networks, But Are Not Using Internet 24/01/2018 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A new report by the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) shows “great strides” in mobile phone penetration in least-developed countries. However, those countries are well behind developed countries when it comes to internet usage. The ITU thematic report, link here, on achieving universal and affordable internet in least-developed countries (LDCs) found that more than four out of five people in LDCs have access to a mobile-cellular network. The report also found that LDCs have “made great progress towards achieving universal access and affordability of the Internet,” however, at current growth rates, less than one-quarter of the population in LDCs will be online by 2020. The key barrier to getting LDC populations online is a lack of skills needed to use the internet, the report says, adding that policymakers have to address broader socioeconomic challenges that lie outside the ICT ecosystem, such as educational levels and gender equality. United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9 recognises the importance of ICTs, the report says, and includes Target 9, which seeks to increase access to information and communications technology and universal and affordable access to the internet in LDCs by 2020. There are 47 LDCs, as defined by the UN, which have a combined population of 979 million people, representing 13 percent of the world population in 2016, and with 28 of them in Africa, according to the report. Mobile phones have helped in several areas in LDCs, such as with agricultural productivity and health, according to the report, which notes that broadband applications and services delivered through the internet could do more. The lack of high-speed connectivity in LDCs remains an obstacle to some of the most promising broadband applications for sectors such as education and health, it says. Most LDCs “face great challenges in making broadband Internet access available and affordable for all,” it said. According to the report, it is estimated that by the end of 2017, “only 172 million of the nearly 1 billion people living in the LDCs will be using the Internet.” There is, however, great variations between LDCs in terms of estimated internet use, from less than 2 percent to over 40 percent, according to the report. Competition in the internet provision market has allowed some Asian countries, such as Myanmar, to forge ahead, as mobile broadband prices have been driven down, it says. Image Credits: ITU Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."ITU: 4 Of 5 People In LDCs Can Access Mobile Networks, But Are Not Using Internet" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.