Bangladesh has been ranked as the fifth largest internet using country in Asia as people with internet access hit 80 million as of December 2017, according to a report by ANN based on data released by the Internet World Stats.
The number of people with internet access saw a significant rise in the past 18 years from 100,000 users in 2000, BSS reports citing the ANN statistics.
China has been ranked at the top of the list with 772 million internet users followed by India, Indonesia and Japan respectively.
In the last decade China has grown tremendously by providing internet from 22 million to 772 million people, the report said, adding that China’s internet availability rate has reached 55.8 per cent, exceeding the world average by 4.1 percentage point.
In India, internet penetration in the last decade jumped from five million to 462 million by 2017. It is expected to grow up to 500 million in this year, the report added.
In Indonesia, internet penetration in the last decade has grown from two million to 143 million. It is followed by Japan with 118 million. Japan, however, had been far ahead of other countries ten years back with the internet penetration at 47 million in the year 2000.
In the Philippines and Vietnam, 67 million and 64 million people have access to internet respectively. Thailand has made internet available to 57 million people in the last ten years.
South Korea was second to Japan in the year 2000 with internet availability to 19 million people. The internet has now reached 47 million people in the last decade.
Pakistan has improved considerably from providing access to 0.13 million people a decade ago to 44 million by the end of last year. Malaysia, Nepal and Myanmar have made internet available to 25 million, 18 million and 16 million people respectively by 2017.
By the end of last year 8 million people in Cambodia had access to internet followed by Sri Lanka and Singapore with internet availability to 6 million and 4 million people respectively. Laos and Mongolia have provided internet availability to 2 million people. The smaller countries like Brunei and Bhutan have made internet available to more than 400 thousand and 300 thousand people respectively.
Even with these impressive numbers, level of connectivity still has to improve considerably especially in South Asia. There are many challenges in terms of infrastructure, affordable devices, data plans and digital literacy that need to be overcome, according to the report.