According to the United Nations, by the end of 2016 half of the world’s population will be connected to the Internet, although developing countries remain largely unconnected.

The report was filed by the U.N. International Telecommunication Union, which revealed that South Korea, Hong Kong, China, and Japan were the leaders in connectivity from 2015 to 2015. Information and communications technology (ICT) is one of the prominent factors in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, being a critical component of 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Facebook's Aquila
Aquila completes its first flight on July 21, 2016. It is a solar-powered plane built by Facebook to provide internet connection to remote regions. The United Nations expects that 60 percent of the world will be able to enjoy an Internet connection by 2020. Image credit: Facebook.

When it comes to ICT development, Europe was the dominant continent while smaller American countries also showed significant progress. The most lackluster region was Africa, where the ICT Development Index for 2016 was only 2.48, compared to a 4.94 global average. This reflects the increased economic development burdens for African countries, showing that simply having Internet access is not enough.

The globalization of Internet

Even if a country has widespread access to the Internet, it is still necessary to educate people to take full advantage of what it has to offer. The ITU highlights that one of the best tools that the Internet possesses is e-commerce, where people can conduct business with little to no start-up capital.

It was also noted that by the end of 2016, there will be as many mobile cellphone subscriptions as there are people on Earth, since many people can have multiple subscriptions to these services. It also appears that 95 percent of all people will be residing in an area covered by a mobile cellular signal.

With each passing year, the Internet becomes more and more important for daily tasks and for developing new projects. The possibility of remaining connected to websites that can be reached by anyone in the world is something to admire.

Because the Internet has shaped up things so radically, it is now being pushed as the way to keep the world connected. For instance, climbers can now enjoy 3G Internet on the route to Mount Everest, which is provided by the telecommunications carrier Ncell. The highest 3G base station is situated at the Everest’s base camp at 17,000 feet high. The coverage reaches the summit of the mountain, which will allow climbers to keep in contact with their families and acquaintances in case anything awry occurs.

On the other hand, China has treatment facilities for those addicted to the Internet. Some Chinese teens spend over 17 hours per day in front of their monitors, which has called for specialized rehab centers not for drugs or alcohol, but for Internet abuse, mainly because it is easily accessible, cheap, and resourceful. There have been several cases of Chinese people dying after days playing online games without pause, and even one of them was honored at a virtual funeral by his fellow gamer friends. China’s Youth Rehabilitation Base is run like a prison with military-style drills and exercises.

“Military training will improve your health, and a sound mind can only be in a sound body,” stated the base’s chief Tao Ran.

Source: UN News Centre