More Than Half the World Still Without Internet Access

More than half of the world's population lacks access to the internet, while the growth of usage in developed nations is slowing, a new report by the U.N. has revealed.

The report, titled The State of Broadband 2015: Broadband as a Foundation For Sustainable Development, looked at internet use and access across the world and was undertaken by the U.N. appointed Broadband Commission for Digital Development. The report's introduction read, "A large body of evidence has now been amassed that affordable and effective broadband connectivity is a vital enabler of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection."

The research estimates that 43 percent of world is now online, leaving 57 percent who are without regular access to the internet.

The report found that a marked decrease in global mobile cellular subscriptions, along with the cost of extending infrastructure to rural and remote areas, was partly responsible for why more than four billion people are still without regular access to the internet.

There is also a gender aspect to broadband access, the report said. Although asserting that gender equality in broadband access is essential for empowering women and girls, the report found that in the developing world 25 percent fewer women have internet access than men.

Rates of internet-literate users is affected due to the fact that only 5 percent of the world's estimated 7,100 languages are currently used online, according to the report. 

The U.N. aims to have 60 percent of the world online by 2020.

The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was initiated jointly in 2010 by the International Telecommunication Union and UNESCO as part of the efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to address poverty, hunger and destitution worldwide.