UN Report: 4.6 Billion Mobile Phone Subscriptions Worldwide, Cell Penetration Doubles in Developing Countries

Amazing to read this latest report from the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (emphasis mine):

By the end of 2009, there were an estimated 4.6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions, corresponding to 67 per 100 inhabitants globally (Chart 1). Last year, mobile cellular penetration in developing countries passed the 50 per cent mark reaching an estimated 57 per 100 inhabitants at the end of 2009. Even though this remains well below the average in developed countries, where penetration exceeds 100 per cent, the rate of progress remains remarkable. Indeed, mobile cellular penetration in developing countries has more than doubled since 2005, when it stood at only 23 per cent.
Internet use has also continued to expand, albeit at a slower pace. In 2009, an estimated 26 per cent of the world’s population (or 1.7 billion people) were using the Internet. In developed countries the percentage remains much higher than in the developing world where four out of five people are still excluded from the benefits of being online.

Can only hope that broadband internet penetration access is the next to take off — in the U.S. more than one-third are without it, largely due to cost, according to a Pew Study also released today. Hopefully the U.S. FCC’s National Broadband plan, due to be formally announced March 17, is aggressive enough to make a difference. It’s our future.

The executive summary of the UN report:

Measuring the Information Society 2010 – United Nations International Telecommunications Union

U.S. Broadband Speed Still Lagging – SpeedMatters.org

SpeedMatters.org recently concluded a survey exemplifying the embarrassing brick wall (likely agreed upon by telco and cable monopolists and duopolists) keeping out broadband Internet speeds at low levels relative to the rest of the world. At 2.3Mbps average download speeds, last mile connectivity has only inched up in the past year, according to the report (PDF), and it would be decades before we experienced the speeds and functionality experienced by internet users in Japan, who connect at over 60Mbps.

Evident in the unscientific studies is the sharp increase in business districts in which connectivity is often an expensive T1 connection, as opposed to publicly available high speed broadband (which here in LA, is mainly limited to AT&T and Comcast, although competitors such as Speakeasy are able to offer better service at slightly higher rates). California ranks 25th in SpeedMatters’ survey of median download speeds. how does your state rank?

I’ve documented the U.S.’s position on broadband ubiquity and connectivity many times, as well as it’s position in relation to other OECD countries throughout here and here. I first profiled SpeedMatters.org (a project of the Communications Workers of America union) here and encourage everyone to participate in their call to action:

Continue reading “U.S. Broadband Speed Still Lagging – SpeedMatters.org”