Mobile broadband over smartphones and tablets is now the fastest growing technology in human history, a new report said, and it’s driving the growth of broadband worldwide.
And that technology, said a new report from the U.N. Broadband Commission, will help deliver broadband to more than 50% of the world’s population by 2017.
Currently, about 40% of the world’s people are already online, the report said. About 2.9 billion people will be using the Internet by the end of the year, up 26% from 2.3 billion in 2013. Of those 2.9 billion users, nearly 80% — 2.3 billion people — will access mobile broadband; that’s expected to soar to a whopping 7.6 billion within the next five years. Mobile broadband already outnumber conventional fixed broadband subscriptions 3-to-1.
And, said the Commission, almost 83% of mobile broadband users currently are using enabled social media applications, about 1.9 billion people.
South Korea, not surprisingly, retains the title of most connected, with household broadband penetration exceeding 98%, up from 97% last year.
Leads the world in fixed broadband penetration (44%). Four economies, Monaco, Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands, have fixed broadband penetration exceeding 40%, up from one Switzerland a year ago.
The United Kingdom (12th), Japan (15th) and Canada (16th) all rank ahead of the U.S. (19th) in terms of number of people online per capita, with Germany (20th) and Australia (21st) following.
The U.S. now is 24th in terms of fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, just behind Japan but ahead of Macao (China) and Estonia.
In the MENA region, Bahrain (11th), UAE (13th) and Qatar (17th) rank in the Top 20 worldwide, with Qatar having the second highest percentage of household broadband (96%) of any developing country after Korea. It also ranks third out of developing countries for percentage of individuals using the Internet.
There are just 77 countries where over 50% of the population is online, an increase from 70 a year ago.
The lowest levels of Internet access are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, with Internet available to less than 2% of the population in Ethiopia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Somalia, Burundi, Eritrea and South Sudan.
Broadband uptake is accelerating, but it is unacceptable that 90% of people in the world’s 48 Least Developed Countries remain totally unconnected, said ITU Secretary-General Dr. Hamadoun I. Toure. With broadband Internet now universally recognized as a vital tool for social and economic development, we need to make connectively a key development priority, particularly in the world’s poorest nations. Connectivity is not a luxury for the rich rather, it is the most powerful tool mankind has ever had at its disposal to bridge development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment.
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It’s been a busy week for Netflix, which had a rocky start in France on Monday, and a smooth deployment in Germany on Tuesday.
The California-based company continued its European rollout this week with launches in Austria and Switzerland; Belgium and Luxembourg are next up.
As in France and Germany, Austrians can get the SVOD service for 7.99 Euros a month. Swiss subscribers will pay 9.85 Euros per month.
Subscribers can access content through connected TVs, computers, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles and connected Blu-ray players.
Netflix has been adding country-specific content for the bulk of its international deployments, including the Nordics, United Kingdom and Ireland, France and Germany, but neither Austria nor Switzerland is slatted to launch with any local content. But, that’s likely to change as the service adds subscribers. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said local content is crucial to success in the company’s international play.
While Netflix has not yet announced new countries it plans to expand into, the likely target is Australia, where the service already is heavily used by consumers skirting geo-blocking through VPNs. It’s estimated that as many as 200,000 Australians already pay for the U.S. version of Netflix, making it one of the largest streaming services in the country.
Netflix also may have tipped its intentions to deploy in Oz when it acquired the SVOD streaming rights in Australia to the upcoming Warner Bros.’s series Gotham. Nine Entertainment holds first-run rights to the series, which is expected to air in Australia later this year. Netflix would likely put the entire series up a year after its completed linear run.
Rumors also have circulated that Netflix will be offered in Spain in 2015.
Of course, the OTT-hungry markets in Central and Eastern Europe also continue to develop, and some pundits say a more natural path might be into English-speaking Africa.
The certainty? Netflix will continue to rapidly expand its global web.
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Zappware’s multiscreen OTT TV solution has been selected by the Altice Group. Altice provides cable TV in France, Israel, Belgium & Luxembourg, Portugal, French West Indies/Indian Ocean Area, Dominican Republic and Switzerland.
upc cablecom has announced the launch of its online video library MyPrime. MyPrime costs CHF 9.95 per month and offers unlimited use of the complete library. Customers with a bundle can use MyPrime at no additional cost.