This year the Internet will pass 2 billion users

That’s right, according to the United Nations, there will be more than 2 billion worldwide Internet users by the end of the year.

The UN’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said in a report released today that the number of Internet users has doubled over the last five years, and that 226 million new users have been added just this year alone, with 162 million from developing countries.

Some other findings from the study according to Reuters:

  • 71% of the developed world is online
  • 21% of the developing world is online
  • Broadband is “the next tipping point” to getting people online
  • 65% of Europeans are online, 55% in the Americas, 9.6% in Africa and 21.9% in Asia Pacific
  • 13.5% of people have Internet access at home in developing countries, compared to 65% in developed ones
  • Mobile phones are a far more important communications technology than the Internet

Truly staggering.

What does this mean for our society – the amount of information people all over will be consuming and the ways digital media will effect the way we think and act? how people engage with each other and with “news” and entertainment?

I’m especially interested in the fact that mobile phones are more important than the internet. Well, I’m sure it’s phones connected to some kind of data sharing system.

I am trying to picture the world that my son will be inhabiting, how he will learn in school and engage with his friends and peers and even engage in work when he’s old enough. My mind is picturing a future somewhat like the command centre in Matrix Revolutions and Tom Cruise in Minority Report.