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830 million young people are online, reveals ITU report

New data released by the International Telecommunication Union, ITU, the United Nations’ specialised agency for information and communication technologies, ICTs, shows that 830 million young people are online, representing 80 percent of the youth population in 104 countries. The ITU’s ICT Facts and Figures 2017 also shows a significant increase in broadband access and subscriptions, with China leading the trend. 

This much-anticipated annual release of global ICT data details how youths 15-24 year olds are at the forefront of Internet adoption. In the Least Developed Countries, LDCs, up to 35 percent of individuals using the Internet are aged 15-24, compared to 13 percent in developed countries and 23 percent globally. In China and India alone, up to 320 million young people use the Internet. 

"The ITU’s ICT Facts and Figures 2017 shows that great strides are being made in expanding Internet access through the increased availability of broadband networks. Digital connectivity plays a critical role in bettering lives, as it opens the door to unprecedented knowledge, employment and financial opportunities for billions of people worldwide," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. 

The data also reveals that mobile broadband subscriptions have grown more than 20 percent annually in the last five years, and are expected to reach 4.3 billion globally by the end of 2017. 

Between 2012 and 2017, LDCs saw the highest growth-rate of mobile broadband subscriptions. Despite this, the number of mobile subscriptions per 100 inhabitants in LDCs is the lowest globally, at 23 percent. 

Further, the number of fixed-broadband subscriptions has increased by 9 percent annually in the last five years, with up to 330 million subscriptions added. 

There has also been an increase in high-speed fixed broadband subscriptions parallel to the growth in the number of fibre connections. Most of the increase in high-speed fixed broadband subscriptions in developing countries can be attributed to China, which accounts for 80 percent of all fixed-broadband subscriptions at 10 Mbit/s or above in the developing world. 

While the Internet user gender gap has narrowed in most regions since 2013, the proportion of men using the Internet remains slightly higher than the proportion of women using the Internet in two-thirds of countries worldwide. In 2017, the global Internet penetration rate for men stands at 50.9 percent compared to 44.9 percent for women. 

International Internet bandwidth grew by 32 percent between 2015 and 2016, with Africa registering an increase of 72 percent during this period the highest of all regions. 

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