The Internet is on hyperspeed. Fueled by the rise of mobile broadband, Internet connectivity around the world has grown sevenfold since 2000, according to a report from the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In total, there are now 3.2 billion of us clicking and tapping our way along the information superhighway.
That means that 43% of the world’s population is now online, as Motherboard points out. Of those 3.2 billion people, about 2 billion are in the developing world.
Of course, there’s still plenty of growth to be seen, with more 2/3 of the population in the developing world as yet unconnected. Companies like Google and Facebook are busy working out futuristic ways to fix that—the former with its hot air balloon-based Project Loon, and both with investments in low-orbit satellites.
As the number of Internet users continues to climb, it will likely be mobile access that’s driving it. By the end of 2015, the ITU report predicts, there will be 7 billion mobile subscribers on the planet, aka almost 97% of the global population, up dramatically from 738 million in 2000. As more and more of those mobile phones become devices of the “smart” variety, look for the number of Internet users to continue to rise.