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According to the report by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), nearly 90 percent of the 750 million people that went online for the first time between 2012 and 2015 were from developing economies, with the largest numbers from India (178 million) and China (122 million).
In many developing countries, nearly half or more of the internet users went online for the first time in the last three years, as in Bangladesh, India, the
Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan.
In Brazil and China, more than 50 percent of the population uses the internet, whereas in India only slightly more than a quarter use it and the next billion internet users will also be primarily from developing economies, UNCTAD pointed out.
The report says in India, Mexico, and Nigeria, the annual growth rates of internet use were between 4-6 percent from 2012 to 2015, whereas the growth rates have been much slower in developed economies, except for Japan, as the markets have already reached near saturation.
In 2015, 69 percent of the global population was estimated to be covered by 3G mobile broadband, up from 45 percent in 2011, the report added.
The quality of broadband service varies considerably. Download speed, upload speed, and latency are quality aspects that affect the use of certain cloud-based applications.
There is a significant gender divide, with an estimated 250 million more men going online than women, and, with few exceptions, the proportion of men using the internet tends to be higher throughout the world (ITU, 2016).
At the global level, the ITU reports an Internet user gender gap of 12 percent for 2016, the gap being more pronounced in developing countries and especially in the LDCs. Differences in the level of education and school enrolment are important explanatory factors. Regions with the largest gender gaps in Internet usage are Africa and Asia and the Pacific.