Tuesday, December 20, 2005

One Billion Internet Users

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox noted Some time in 2005, we quietly passed a dramatic milestone in Internet history: the one-billionth user went online.

Welcome to Cyberspace.
Because we have no central register of Internet users, we don't know who that user was, or when he or she first logged on. Statistically, we're likely talking about a 24-year-old woman in Shanghai. According to Morgan Stanley estimates, 36% of Internet users are now in Asia and 24% are in Europe. Only 23% of users are in North America, where it all started in 1969 when two computers -- one in Los Angeles, the other in Palo Alto -- were networked together.
According to this site the population of North America is 325 million, and 23% of 1B is 230M, so about 2 in 3 in NA are in Cyberspace. The population of Europe is 729 Million, and 24% of 1B is 240M, so about 1 in 3 in Europe are in Cyberspace. The population of Asia is 3.8 Billion, and 36% of 1B is 360, so only about 1 in 10 Asians are in Cyberspace.
It took 36 years for the Internet to get its first billion users. The second billion will probably be added by 2015; most of these new users will be in Asia. The third billion will be harder, and might not be reached until 2040. In 2002, NUA estimated that we had 605 million Internet users. Since then, Internet use has grown by 18% per year -- certainly not as fast as the 1990s, but still respectable.

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