Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General. Photo: ITU
2.6 Billion People Remain Offline in 2023: ITU
The new estimates on global connectivity come as ITU and UNDP prepare to convene SDG Digital at UN Headquarters in New York on 17 September.
The number of people worldwide not connected to the Internet decreased to an estimated 2.6 billion people in 2023, according to the latest data from ITU, the UN tech agency.
The reduction from the estimated 2.7 billion people offline in 2022 leaves 33 percent of the global population unconnected in 2023.
Sixty-seven per cent of the world’s population, or 5.4 billion people, are now online.
“This improvement in connectivity is another step in the right direction, and one more step towards leaving no one behind in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “We won’t rest until we live in a world where meaningful connectivity is a lived reality for everyone, everywhere.”
According to early estimates, growth in Internet connectivity remains the strongest in low-income countries where data indicate that Internet users increased by about 17 percent over the past year. However, less than one-third of individuals are connected to the Internet in these countries.
Current trends are not strong enough to guarantee that the objective of universal and meaningful connectivity will be met by 2030.
Achieving universal and meaningful connectivity by 2030 – the possibility for everyone to enjoy a safe, satisfying, enriching and productive online experience at an affordable cost – requires a comprehensive approach that addresses infrastructure as well as other factors such as affordability and skills.
The Internet is an essential tool to access information, employment opportunities and education. People without meaningful access may be left behind. This becomes more important as technologies such as artificial intelligence become more prevalent in our day-to-day lives.
ITU works closely with partners to ensure that those who are connected have the skills and knowledge to use it.
The new estimates on global connectivity come as ITU and UNDP prepare to convene SDG Digital at UN Headquarters in New York on 17 September to take stock of how digital technologies can support the Sustainable Development Goals and explore the opportunities offered by digital technologies to accelerate them.
Detailed global, regional, and country-level analysis for key connectivity indicators tracked by ITU will be released later this year in ITU’s annual flagship Facts and Figures report.