Global internet users set to reach three billion header image

The number of people using the internet across the globe will have reached three billion by the end of the year, a new report has forecast.

This prediction has been made by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and means roughly 43 per cent of the world population will have internet access.

It predicts 44 per cent of households across the world will be online by the end of the year. This figure will rise to 78 per cent in developed nations and drop to 31 per cent in developing countries. 

The ITU said two-thirds of the world's internet users are now based in the developing world. However, online penetration is highest in Europe, where 75 per cent of the population are online. 

It also ranked the world's nations based on the typical speeds of their fixed broadband connections. 

The organisation placed the UK seventh, behind South Korea, France, Iceland, Denmark, Hong Kong and Andorra, ISPreview reports.

However, the publication raised some doubts about the accuracy of these rankings, pointing to the fact some large nations, such as Australia, were not included and suggested the speeds measured are likely to be those advertised by broadband providers rather than actual real-world performance.

The ITU is not the first organisation to rank nations based on their broadband services, as Akamai has recently released its latest State of the Internet report.

According to this, the UK has the 13th fastest broadband in the world and ninth best in Europe, with an average speed of 9.4 Mbps.

Akamai also ranked South Korea as having the best broadband services, although the rest of its top five was largely different to the ITU's with Japan, Switzerland and the Czech Republic appearing alongside Hong Kong.

The organisation claimed 30 per cent of the UK's connections exceed ten Mbps, while 21 per cent of services in the country reach speeds no higher than four Mbps.