Internet users to surpass two billion by end of 2010

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London, Oct 20 (ANI): The number of Internet users will surpass two billion by the end of this year, approaching a third of the world population, according to United Nations statistics.

The BBC quoted the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), as saying that the number of people online has doubled to two billion in the last five years. It also said that of the 226 million new Internet users that have come online this year, more than two thirds are from developing countries.

However, the data show that developing countries still need to step up access to the vital tool for economic growth.

According to the report, 71 percent of people in western countries will be online by the end of 2010, compared to just 21 percent in developing countries.

Referring to broadband connections, the ITU said that it is a "transformational technology" that can be used to spur development.

"It can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity and underpin long-term economic competitiveness," the BBC quoted ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure, as saying.

ITU, however, reportedly warned that prices remained disproportionately high, particularly in those countries with low incomes, and added that the Central African Republic was the most expensive place to get a fixed broadband connection, costing nearly 40 times the average monthly income there.

Macao in China was the cheapest, costing 0.3 percent of the average monthly income.

The statistics also revealed that although broadband use is increasing, it has been surpassed by mobile connections. Adding that over 90 percent of the world's population has access to a mobile network, it estimated that there will be 5.3 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2010, of which 3.8 billion will be in the developing world. (ANI)

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