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Over 2 Billion Internet Users Worldwide - Wireless Broadband 30% Slower than Wired - March 2011 Bandwidth Report

Summary: More than 2 billion people use the Internet worldwide, according to a recent survey. Europe leads the world in fixed broadband adoption with 54% more penetration than the Americas.

Last month's Bandwidth Report discussed wireless broadband penetration. This month we look at the spread of fixed broadband and Internet penetration, as well the performance cost of going wireless. Europe leads the world in fixed broadband and Internet penetration, just as it leads in mobile broadband peentration.

Global Telecommunications Trends

Fixed broadband and Internet users experienced slower growth than mobile broadband and cellular subscribers over the past decade (see Figure 1). Fixed telephone lines actually decreased from a high of 19.4% in 2006 to 17.3% penetration in 2010.

Global Telecommunication Trends 2000-2010

Figure 1: Global Telecommunication Trends 2000-2010
Source: ITU

European Fixed Broadband Penetration Leads World

Europe has 54% higher penetration than the Americas with 23.9% of the population on fixed broadband, compared to 15.5% penetration in the Americas (see Figure 2). The Commonwealth of Independent States has an 8.7% penetration rate of fixed broadband, just higher than the worldwide average of 8% penetration.

Fixed Broadband Subscriptions per 100 Inhabitants 2010

Figure 2: Fixed Broadband Subscriptions per 100 Inhabitants 2010
Source: ITU

Fixed Broadband Penetration Growth

The developed world is showing higher growth of fixed broadband adoption, with 24.6% penetration as of late 2010 (see Figure 3). While fixed broadband is growing at a good clip, wireless broadband is growing by leaps and bounds with more than twice the penetration of fixed broadband in developed countries (51.1% as of 2010). The worldwide average is 8% fixed broadband penetration, while developing countries have 4.4% penetration.

Fixed Broadband Subscriptions per 100 Inhabitants 2010

Figure 3: Fixed Broadband Penetration Growth 2000-2010
Source: ITU

Worldwide Internet Trends

Worldwide, there are more than 2 billion Internet subscribers (see Figure 4). The total number of Internet users rose to 2,084,000,000 (2 billion) users in 2010, with a penetration rate of 30% worldwide. Mobile cellular is 2.5 times more popular than Internet use, with 5,282,000,000 cellular subscriptions worldwide and 76.2% penetration as of 2010 (see the February 2011 Bandwidth Report).

Global Internet Users and Penetration from 2000 to 2010

Figure 4: Global Internet Subscriptions and Penetration from 2000 to 2010
Source: ITU

Internet Penetration by Region

Europe leads the world in Internet usage with 65% of the population on the Internet (see Figure 5). The Americas follow with 55% penetration, and the Commonwealth of Independent States at 46% penetration. The worldwide average of Internet penetration is 30%.

Internet users per 100 inhabitants 2010

Figure 5: Internet Users per 100 Inhabitants 2010
Source: ITU

Conclusion

This survey shows that while fixed broadband and Internet usage is growing, wireless broadband is growing at a faster rate. Europe leads the world in Internet adoption and fixed broadband usage. A recent study by Epitoro found that Wi-Fi slows wired broadband by an average of 31.6%.

Further Reading

European Mobile Broadband Penetration Nearly Twice the Americas
Europe leads the world in mobile broadband penetration with nearly twice the adoption rate of the Americas. The Commonwealth of Independent States leads the world in cellular adoption with over 130% penetration.
ITU
Provided the data used in this report.
Wi-Fi in the Home
A study into the effect of the "air mile" on consumer broadband performance found that Wi-Fi reduced wired broadband performance by an average of 31.6%, and increased latency by 10 to 20%.

By website optimization on 29 Mar 2011 AM

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