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Highlights from State of Broadband 2022

Highlights from State of Broadband 2022

The new edition of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission’s State of Broadband Report offers an overview of the latest digital connectivity trends.

This year’s edition examines how the pandemic has accelerated the uptake of broadband and the adoption of digital services by individuals and businesses, as well as the digitalization of government services and the spread of e-commerce. The report also examines consequences of these phenomena, which are expected to continue, for the design and quality of broadband networks.

The report also outlines two developments that need to take place in order to realise a transition to a more connected post-pandemic world: a regulatory environment that stimulates broadband services and attracts investment, as well as strategies and policies that enable broadband adoption and accelerate digital inclusion. One result of the pandemic was the fact that it made the digital divide very clear, highlighting the fact that numerous people lacked the skills, devices, funds and internet access required for online education and working. 2.7 billion people currently have no broadband and can’t access public services or learn from home.

  • Internet use grew to 66% of the global population in 2022, reaching 5.3 billion people, up from 54% in 2019. A significant part of this growth was driven by use of videoconferencing for work and education as well as online shopping, access to public services and remote health consultation. Low and lower middle-income countries are particularly disadvantaged, however, as less than half of households have an Internet connection.
  • Networks withstood the huge explosion in data traffic triggered by COVID-19. After a blip following the onset of the pandemic, average broadband speeds increased despite the giant jump in demand.
  • Gender equality in access to digital services is improving. ITU estimates that 69 per cent of men were using the Internet in 2022 compared to 64 per cent of women, while selected regions and income groups have reached gender parity.
  • Although affordability of broadband services decreased in 2021, this is not so much due to an increase in service charges, which continued to drop, but due to a sharp drop in incomes as a result of COVID-19.
  • Globally, median mobile broadband speeds were 30 Mb/s down and nine up in March 2022. Fixed broadband stood at 63 Mb/s down and 27 Mb/s up. Median mobile speeds would just be sufficient for one person videoconferencing while the fixed speeds would be the minimum for a family. These are global medians, which means that over half of households with broadband have insufficient quality for videoconferencing.


  • The average mobile user is expected to use 16.2 GB/month in 2023, compared to 8.5 GB/month in 2021, while a fixed broadband line is expected to use 454 GB/month in 2023 compared to 293 GB/month in 2021.
  • Apart from the availability of basic equipment needed for home working and learning, there is also a need for quality. Applications such as videoconferencing and streaming require higher bandwidth and the size of the household also affects bandwidth requirements.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs. Founded in 1865 to facilitate international connectivity in communications networks, ITU allocates global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, develops the technical standards that ensure networks and technologies seamlessly interconnect, and strives to improve access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.