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Number of Netizens to Exceed Two Billion in 2010

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According to the United Nations, the number of Internet users will exceed two billion people this year, approaching one-third of the global population. The International Telecommunication Union, an agency within the U.N., is reporting that Internet access was extended to 226 million new users in 2010, with 162 million of them coming from developing nations. In the last five years, the number of netizens has doubled, but the percentage of the connected population in developing countries is still much lower than in other parts of the world. Only 21-percent of the population in areas deemed "developing" are online, as compared with 71-percent in developed nations. Africa, for example, only represents 9.6-percent of the networked global population.

While growth of Web access has increased in recent years, the ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Toure says that developing nations need to increase the pace at which they expand the availability of broadband. Toure called broadband "the next tipping point, the next truly transformational technology," saying it's essential to job creation and economic competitiveness. A recent U.N. report, however, indicates that mobile phones and mobile data networks may actually be more important in pulling a nation out of poverty. It's obvious, though, that if a country wishes to push economic growth and remain competitive in the 21st century, Internet access, mobile or otherwise, will have to play a central role.

Tags: broadband, developing nations, DevelopingNations, Economics, International Telecommunication Union, InternationalTelecommunicationUnion, internet access, InternetAccess, top, un, united nations, UnitedNations, web