Mobile broadband uptake is growing at 30 per cent per year, according to the 2013 State of the Broadband report, and will be the fastest growing technology in history.
The report examined four targets set by 60 member countries of the Broadband Commission in 2011, with the latest report the second report from the Commission.
It found mobile broadband use will be triple the number of fixed broadband subscriptions by the end of this year.
A total of 82.3 per cent of Australians now use the Internet. Iceland ranked 1st at 96.0 per cent, while Norway ranked second at 95.0 per cent and Sweden ranked third at 94.0 per cent. North Korea bottomed out the list at 192nd at 0.0 per cent of the population using the Internet.
The report found South Korea still has the highest broadband penetration rate in developing countries at 97.4 per cent. Qatar ranked second with 88.1 per cent and Singapore came third at 87.7 per cent.
Switzerland has the highest fixed broadband penetration at 41.9 per cent, while Australia ranked 29th at 25.1 per cent.
The top 10 countries for fixed broadband penetration are all located in Europe, except South Korea. There are only three other non-European countries in the top 20 (Canada, Hong Kong and the United States).
The report found five countries have mobile broadband penetration rates in excess of 100 connections per capita. This includes Singapore (123.3 connections per 100); Japan (113.1); Finland (106.5); South Korea (106.0); and Sweden (101.3). Australia ranked 6th with 96.2 connections per 100 people.
“The new analysis in this year’s report shows progress in broadband availability, but we must not lose sight of those who are being left behind,” Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, ITU secretary-general, said in a statement.
“While more and more people are coming online, over 90 per cent of people in the world’s 49 least developed countries remain totally unconnected. Internet – and particularly broadband Internet – has become a key tool for social and economic development, and needs to be prioritised, even in the world’s poorest nations.
“Technology, combined with relevant content and services, can help us bridge urgent development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment.”
The report also tracked ‘gender equality’ in access to broadband and found women are less likely to have access to technology than men.