United Nations: A third of the world's population does not use the Internet

A third of the world's population is still offline, equivalent to about 2.9 billion people, according to the United Nations, even though the pandemic has demonstrated the network's importance in ensuring the continuity of work and study and led to a significant increase in its use.

And new data published by the International Telecommunication Union on Tuesday showed that about 4.9 billion people surfed the Internet this year, an increase of 800 million people over the number of users before the Corona pandemic.

The pandemic containment measures have led to the closure of countless companies and schools all over the world, sometimes for consecutive months, prompting employees, schoolchildren and university students to use the Internet to continue working and studying, if they have access to the network.

However, the availability of such connectivity remains unequal, with nearly all those without it living in developing countries, or 96 percent.

Among those who have an Internet connection, hundreds of millions can only do so by using means they share with others or have only low speed, which greatly limits their use of the capabilities of the Internet.

The Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, Houlin Zhao, considered that "a great effort is still required."

The unusually large increase in the number of users leads to the belief that the pandemic has encouraged people to use the Internet.

Since 2019, an additional 782 million people have used the network, an increase of 17 percent.

The increase amounted to 10 percent in the first year of the epidemic, which is the strongest annual increase "in a decade", according to the International Telecommunication Union.

The union noted that the reason for the lack of Internet access is not necessarily the lack of infrastructure, noting that 95 percent of the world's population can theoretically access the third and fourth generation mobile phone network.

He pointed out that the prices of equipment and services are often high.

He stressed that the cost of internet connection should not exceed 2% of the annual income per capita in a developing country, in order for it to be accessible to the public, and the Federation considered that the absence of digital culture is also a major obstacle, as well as many problems such as poverty and lack of electricity or digital skills.