Three billion people are now online thanks to information and communication technology growth across the world, yet rural divides still remain, according to a new report.
Figures from the Measuring the Information Society report from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) show that internet use grew at a rate of 6.6 percent globally in 2014.
The figure falls to 3.3 percent in developed countries, indicating how well internet access has penetrated the richer nations.
Conversely, the rate of growth in developing countries rises to 8.7 percent, demonstrating how internet access is gathering pace in areas that have previously lacked sufficient infrastructure.
The report noted that 4.3 billion people still lack internet access, 90 percent of them in developing countries.
Some 2.5 billion of these people live in 42 of the least connected countries, where access to the internet and related communication technology remains out of reach.
"Rural access is growing much more slowly than urban access, and connecting rural households to broadband internet should remain a key priority for policy-makers in every country," said the report.
This lack of internet access is related mostly to poorer nations with large rural populations that struggle to address the gulf between urban internet access and the lack of it in rural areas.
There are some exceptions to this trend, including Japan and the Republic of Korea, where the internet access divide between the countryside and cities is as low as four percent.
Mobile broadband is helping to overcome some of the problems relating to a lack of cabled broadband infrastructure.
The report estimates that mobile penetration will hit 32 percent by the end of 2014, with Africa driving growth at a rate of 40 percent for the year.
The report also predicts that nearly 44 percent of households globally will have access to the internet by the end of 2014, up from 30 percent in 2010.
As expected, 78 percent of households in the developed world have internet access compared with 31 percent in developing nations. Only five percent of homes have internet access in the 48 least developed countries identified by the UN.
Denmark was recognised as a top performer in internet development and access, closely followed by the Republic of Korea.
The ITU did not identify the weakest performers, but did indicate that United Arab Emirates, Fiji, Cape Verde, Thailand and Oman have shown the most improvement when it comes to internet development.
The ITU noted that internet access in schools has made significant progress over the past 10 years in developed and developing nations, although access levels vary widely across nations and individual regions.
The report identified several drivers of internet growth. Broadband prices dropped by 70 percent globally between 2008 and 2013, while entry-level broadband speeds rose from 256Kbps to 1Mbps.
Another factor is the increasing volume of content on the internet, and the prevalence of social media networks that help to drive its dissemination, particularly as more people are able to create and share content across the web.
Growth of internet access across the globe is generally positive, according to the report, but the ITU highlighted some areas that are lacking.
The potential for public buildings such as libraries and post offices and public internet access points has not been fully exploited, the ITU said, pointing out that only 10 percent of post offices offer public internet access.
Some rural areas in the UK remain underserved by internet service providers, prompting the government to allocate £225m to rural broadband projects.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago