As many as two out of three people in the Americas will use the Internet by the end of 2014, predicts the UN's International Telecommunication Union. Still, the region has seen the lowest growth in fixed broadband compared to the rest of the world. With Brazil’s Internet Bill of Rights going into effect on June 23 and the ongoing debate on net neutrality in the United States, the importance of expanding internet access in the Western Hemisphere is in the spotlight. AS/COA Online takes a look at how user bases are growing and how countries rank in terms of access.
Last month, the Inter-American Development Bank released a new index measuring broadband acess in Latin America based on public policy, regulations, infrastructure, and applications and knowledge. The ranking puts Chile first in the region, and Belize last.
The World Bank tracks internet users per 100,000 people, with the most recent data from 2012. In Latin America and the Caribbean, Barbados, the Bahamas, and Chile have the highest penetration rates, while Nicaragua and Haiti have the lowest.
The Economic Commission for Latin America also researches data on internet use. Based on its 2012 data, Uruguay had the highest percentage of households in Latin America with internet access.
While internet access is important, a speedy connection is becoming an increasing priority. Net Index, an application created by software developer Ookla, keeps a real-time database of broadband performance around the world. According to 2013 data of internet connection speeds in Latin America and the Caribbean, Uruguay leads the region with an average download speed of 14.9 megabits per second.