That still means 5.5 billion people have no internet access - and in some regions of the world, especially sub-Saharan Africa, internet access is still very low and access to broadband almost zero, according to a global survey by internet consultancy Point Topic.
Only four African countries registered as having broadband access - South Africa (1.79%), Senegal (1.43%), Gabon (0.55%) and Sudan (0.05%). North Africa fares little better, with Morocco at nearly 7% and Egypt at 1.55%. South Korea remains the country with highest broadband penetration at nearly 90% of the population, while perhaps surprisingly, Indonesia enjoyed the fastest growth in broadband access at 28% in the first quarter of 2007, with other Asian countries also seeing rapidly rising access (Vietnam 24% and Philippines 23%).
Eastern Europe was also seeing a belated broadband revolution with Greece enjoying growth of 28% and Croatia at 25% in the first quarter. China is moving fast up the broadband access ranks, with 15.3% or 56m households now having access in the first quarter, leaving India far behind at 1.53% of approximately 200m households.
The expansion of access in China is in part due to a government-backed programme of extending broadband access in the countryside, combined with the swelling demand of China's urban middle classes. The US has 53% broadband access, or 60m households, just behind the UK with 55.58% of households.
China overtaking US for fast internet access as Africa gets left behind
The Guardian, June 14
Review by Joe Gill