Internet freedom is up slightly in the U.S. but global decline continues
The world-wide trend for networked devices has continued unabated in 2018. Not only have Internet users in the U.S. continued to drive use of mobile and fixed broadband services, but also the global use of connected devices continues to increase. This is largely because people living in high-cost countries have become increasingly willing to adopt new technology due to concerns about the financial cost.
Since 2010, the worldwide internet access penetration rate has increased by more than 50% to 92.1%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This rise has also caused global broadband subscriptions to grow from 6.1 billion subscriptions in 2010 to about 6.9 billion subscriptions in 2018. This rise in Internet penetration can be attributed to the growth in use of mobile and fixed broadband. Mobile broadband has grown by 40% since 2010, from 2.7 billion subscriptions to almost 3.4 billion subscriptions since then. Fixed broadband has increased from 8.5 billion subscriptions to 9.1 billion subscriptions in 2018.
At the same time, more people are turning to wireless broadband devices to access the internet. The U.S. market penetration of mobile broadband has increased from 13 to 18% between 2010 and 2018, whereas the worldwide penetration of mobile broadband has increased from 23 to 24% during the same period. Meanwhile, mobile connectivity has increased in most high-income countries, with the UK, France, Germany and Spain all having seen a significant growth in mobile broadband. All of the aforementioned countries have also seen an increase in fixed broadband, particularly in the U.S. and the UK, with France and Germany both having doubled their fixed broadband penetration since 2010.
The rise of fixed Internet access has helped to bolster a broader trend that is seen across much of the world. It is clear from the figures presented in this report that the worldwide fall of fixed Internet connection rates has continued in 2018. This is primarily because of two reasons. Firstly, the continuing fall in fixed Internet connection rates is largely due to the continued rise in the usage of mobile broadband. As the number of mobile devices continues to grow exponentially, the numbers of fixed Internet connections are falling as more people shift to mobile broadband as their primary means of accessing the internet. The second reason for the continued decline in fixed internet connection rates is that there is a general trend in many of the world’