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Telecom. IT : ITU 2022/Report: 5.3 billion people will use the Internet by the end of 2022

Two-thirds of the world's population (66%), equivalent to 5.3 billion people, will end up using the Internet by the end of 2022, after, in 2019, the share was 54%, reveals the data included in a report by of the International Telecommunications Union, released on the occasion of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the International Telecommunication Union (PP-22), in Bucharest.

In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, the number of Internet users increased by over 10%, the largest increase in a decade. Furthermore, in Low-Middle-Income/LMIC countries, Internet use increased by 15%.

It is also estimated that over 550 million people worldwide were working from home in the second quarter of 2020 (over 17% of the global workforce) due to pandemic-induced lockdown measures. In this context, calls to video conferences have grown exponentially, and the available data show that, in October 2020, Microsoft Teams had more than 115 million daily active users, Zoom recorded 300 million meeting participants every day, Google approximately 100 million participants, and Cisco Webex almost 600 million participants (but in September 2020).

"The quarantine measures due to COVID-19 led to an acceleration in the adoption of digital services and broadband infrastructure. With the COVID-19 pandemic, broadband connection - for those who had it - became a vital necessity for work, learning, accessing basic services and staying connected. The latest ITU data shows that Internet usage has accelerated during the pandemic. In 2019, 54% of the world's population used the Internet, with this figure rising to an estimated 66% in 2022, representing 5.3 billion people. A significant part of this growth was driven by the need to use quarantine-related applications such as video conferencing for work and education, as well as for online shopping, access to public services and medical consultation from the distance,"the report "The State of Broadband 2022: Accelerating broadband for new realities" reads.

The specialized report also refers to the figures of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which points out that, in April 2020, there were school closures in 188 countries, approximately 90% introduced digital or distance learning. In this context, Latin America was the most seriously affected region, with students deprived of an average of 170 days of school, more than four times the world average.

"Measures taken by governments to enable distance learning have reached around 70% of school children, from pre-primary to secondary education. More than 80% of countries have introduced online learning during school closures, reaching around a quarter of school children around the world - or to more than 350 million primary and secondary school students. While there have been impediments, the unparalleled experiment in distance learning has demonstrated that education can be delivered on a large scale. Education experts predict a hybrid learning system, as in the case of flexible work," the document states.

Regarding the use of the Internet for online shopping, according to data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the share of those who made online purchases increased from 53% before the pandemic (2019) to 60% after the onset of the pandemic (2020 /21), in 66 countries with available statistics.

The leading consumer-oriented e-commerce companies have increased their sales by more than 1.5 trillion dollars since the beginning of the pandemic. Thus, in 2019, these companies achieved sales worth 2.4 trillion dollars, 2.9 trillion dollars in 2020, after the onset of the pandemic, respectively 3.9 trillion dollars in 2021.

The report "The State of Broadband 2022: Accelerating broadband for new realities" is published on the website of the International Telecommunications Union, in the "Publications" section. The document is drawn up in collaboration with UNESCO, through the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development.

Romania organized, between September 26 and October 14, at the Palace of the Parliament, the 21st edition of the Conference of Plenipotentiaries of the International Telecommunication Union (PP-22), in which more than 3,000 leaders and delegates from 193 countries participate.

Along with the National Authority for Communications Administration and Regulation (ANCOM) and the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Tourism (MAT), partners in organizing the conference are: the Senate of Romania, the Chamber of Deputies, the General Secretariat of the Government, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Culture, the City Hall of Bucharest, the Special Telecommunications Service, the Protection and Security Service and the Romanian Television Company.