Saturday, February 12, 2011

Internet Population Touches 2 Billion!

The number of internet users in the world has now touched the 2 billion mark. According to a  statement released by Hamadoun Toure, head of the UN’s telecommunication agency, the International Telecommunication Unit (ITU). The number of mobile phone subscriptions has also crossed another milestone, achieving the magical number of 5 billion.

In a statement to the journalists, Toure said “At the beginning of the year 2000 there were only 500 million mobile subscriptions globally and 250 million Internet users. By the beginning of this year 2011 those numbers have mushroomed to over five billion mobile users and two billion subscribers to the Internet.”

With around 6.8 billion people on the planet currently, the data shows that nearly every third person in the world surfs online. The exact figure stands at 2.08 billion at the end of 2010, compared to 1.86 billion a year before.

The greatest growth has been achieved in the Arab region and the countries that formed the erstwhile Soviet Union. According to Susan Teltscher, ITU head of market information and statistics, these regions have been catching up rapidly, because they had low penetration rates earlier.

In absolute terms, Asia and the Pacific were the leaders, churning out more than 100 million new internet users to take the region’s tally to 857 million. The corresponding figure for the Arab regions was 88 million, a growth of almost 100% over the corresponding number about five years back.

In spite of the magnificent growth rates, the user density in the Asia-Pacific region and the Arab states lags far behind the ones in Europe and Americas. With the rapidly developing economy in these regions, particularly in Asia, the majority of the growth in the internet sector is expected to come from these regions, with the almost saturated markets of Europe and America expected to play a fringe role at best.

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