Qatar is the only country in the Middle East and North Africa in top 10 for Internet connection, according to the 2013 edition of the State of Broadband Report by the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
In terms of Internet use, there are now more than 70 countries where over 50% of the population is online. Majority of the top 10 countries for Internet use are located in Europe, with the exception of New Zealand (8th) and Qatar (10th).
Mobile broadband is the fastest growing technology in human history, according to the report, which was released in New York at the 8th meeting of the Broadband Commission for
The report reveals that mobile broadband subscriptions, which allow users to access the web via smartphones, tablets and WiFi-connected laptops, are growing at a rate of 30% per year.
By the end of 2013 there will be more than three times as many mobile broadband connections as there are conventional fixed broadband subscriptions.
The State of Broadband is a unique global snapshot of broadband network access and affordability, with country by country data measuring broadband access against the four key targets set by the 60 members of the Broadband Commission in 2011.
South Korea continues to have the world’s highest household broadband penetration at over 97%. Switzerland leads in fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, at over 40%. ITU secretary-general Dr Hamadoun I Touré, who serves as co-vice chair of the Commission with Unesco director-general Irina Bokova said while more and more people are coming online, over 90% of people in the world’s 49 least developed countries remain totally unconnected.
“Internet – and particularly broadband Internet – has become a key tool for social and economic development, and needs to be prioritised, even in the world’s poorest nations. Technology combined with relevant content and services can help us bridge urgent development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment.”
“The global roll-out of broadband carries vast potential to enhance learning opportunities, to facilitate the exchange of information, and to increase access to content that is linguistically and culturally diverse,” said Bokova.
HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, chairman, Ooredoo, said: “The challenge now is to ensure Qatar’s level of productive access becomes the norm across our regional footprint, and that developing economies enjoy the same levels of access and opportunity.”
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