Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

A new United Nations report makes clear that broadband access is surging around the world. By the end of 2013, there will be 2.1 billion mobile broadband connections, or almost three times the number of fixed-line ones, it predicts. Some countries are already completely saturated: Japan and Singapore each had more subscriptions than people, reflecting ownership of multiple devices. Others are lagging: China had 17 mobile broadband subscriptions per 100 residents last year.  

 Overall, the report is well worth reading for a deep look at what it calls the “far-reaching change brought abosut by the smartphone.” It notes:

Mass connectivity via basic and advanced data access technologies seems assured, with the number of mobile subscriptions set to exceed 7 billion and overtake the total world population in 2014.  Mobile subscriptions in Africa and the Middle-East alone exceeded one billion in [the first quarter of] 2013.

Of course, the downsides are also becoming clearer. We’ve have a long string of revelations about the depth of U.S. National Security Agency surveillance of the Internet and mobile communications (see “NSA Spying is Making Us Less Safe”). And in some countries, the Internet operates at the whim of the government, as we were reminded on Wednesday as the Sudanese government apparently shut off of the Internet amid anti-government protests.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Communications, Web, Mobile

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me