The world’s broadband population has passed 500 million, or one in every five households, according to the Broadband World Forum.
However, the ITU says take-up heavily skewed to the developing world, where 30% of people have broadband, while in the world’s poorest nations adoption is below 1%.
Research firm Point Topic said the world broadband population reached 498 million at the end of June, up 12% in the past 12 months, and would have passed the 500 million mark in mid-July.
It said China remains the “powerhouse of global broadband,” accounting for 43% of net broadband additions in the second quarter. Western European markets such as Germany, the UK and Italy rebounded with strong numbers after last year’s anemic growth, while Central and South America grew 5%-7%.
Broadband Forum CEO Robin Mersh described the numbers as “an extremely significant milestone and it reflects the critical importance of broadband in our daily lives.”
But an ITU report on broadband and development said the high cost of broadband had stifled its growth.