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UN report provides global broadband snapshot

There were 589 million fixed broadband internet subscribers globally at the end of last year, out of 2.26 billion internet users, according to the UN’s latest annual report on broadband, carried out by UNESCO and the ITU.

Asia Pacific led the way with 243 million fixed broadband subscriptions, followed by Europe with 160 million and the Americas with 145 million. The CIS had 27 million, the Arab world eight million and Africa one million. By technology, DSL led the way with 60.8%, followed by cable with 19.4%, FTTX with 14.1% and FTTH with 2.6%.

There were meanwhile 5.97 billion mobile subscriptions globally, including 1.09 billion mobile broadband subscriptions. Smartphone shipments in 2011 amounted to 491.4 million out of 1.55 billion handset shipments. The UN estimates that one quarter of mobile users will have two or more mobile devices by 2016, up from 8% in 2011.

There were 421 million mobile broadband subscribers in Asia Pacific in 2011. Followed by 336 million in Europe, 286 million in the Americas, 42 million in the CIS, 48 million in the Arab states and 31 million in Africa, indicating the strength of mobile in the developing world.

English remains the leading language on the internet, accouting for 565 million users, followed by Chinese with 510 million and Spanish with 165 million.