Only 40 percent of the global population has ever connected to the internet: report

According the Facebook-led initiative Internet.org, there are expansive gaps in connectivity throughout developing parts of the world.

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Internet.org, the Facebook-led initiative to foster global internet connectivity, published a report this week that shines light on the expansive gaps in connectivity around developing parts of the world.

The report on global internet access found that only 40 percent of the world's population has ever connected to the internet, and that only 37.9 percent of the global population uses the internet at least once a year.

But the breakdown takes a different shape when comparing developed countries to emerging economies. While 78 percent of people in developed countries are online, just 32 percent of the population of emerging economies uses the internet.

As expected, mobile is a main driver of global internet adoption, with 90 percent of the population living within range of a mobile signal -- however, proximity does not translate into connectivity.

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The report also pointed out that the growth rate of internet adoption has slowed for four consecutive years, dropping from 14.7 percent in 2010 to 6.6 percent in 2014. At the current pace, the milestone of 4 billion connected people will not be reached until 2019.

The report stressed the need to address issues of relevance, affordability and infrastructure in order to spur faster internet adoption in emerging economies.

Still, by early this year, 3 billion people will be connected to the internet.