This is Alex Villarreal with the VOA Special English Technology Report, formerly called the Development Report, from http://voaspecialenglish.com | http://facebook.com/voalearningenglish Before we changed the name, we went on our Facebook page and asked for story ideas. Some of you suggested that we talk about ICT, information and communication technology.Well, the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency, released its latest ICT Facts and Figures report in October. Since two thousand five, the number of Internet users worldwide has doubled to more than one and a half billion people. At least two billion are expected to be online by the end of this year. The ITU says more than seventy percent of new Internet users this year will be in developing countries. Still, only twenty-one percent of the population of the developing world is online -- compared to seventy-one percent in developed countries. Susan Teltscher is head of the agency's Market Information and Statistics Division in Switzerland. She says there are still very huge divides when it comes to accessing the Internet, especially high-speed Internet. In Africa not even ten percent of the population is using the Internet.Fewer than sixteen percent of homes in developing countries are wired for the Internet. But, on the other hand, Ms. Teltscher says mobile phone usage has reached sixty-eight percent in developing countries.The world has almost seven billion people. Nine out of ten now have access to mobile networks. The ITU estimates that mobile subscriptions will reach five billion three hundred million this year. The majority are in the developing world. And Susan Teltscher says more and more people in developing countries are using their mobile phones to connect to the Internet.Ms. Teltscher says mobile technology is already improving lives in developing countries. She points to examples like banking by phone, e-health services and farm reports by text messaging. And the possibilities will only grow as broadband, or high-speed, connections become more widely available. ITU Secretary General Hamadoun Toure calls broadband "the next truly transformational technology." He also calls it the most powerful tool available in the race to meet the Millennium Development Goals by twenty fifteen. For VOA Special English, I'm Alex Villarreal. Join us online at voaspecialenglish.com or on Facebook or Twitter at VOA Learning English. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 25Oct2010)
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