ITU study reveals that Internet users doubled in the last five years

The number of Internet users doubled in the last five years and will surpass the 2 billion mark at the end of 2010. Whereas the number of consumers with Internet access at home increased 14.3 percent over last year, up from 1.4 million in 2009 to 1.6 million in 2010. These are some of the latest data from International Telecommunications Union (ITU) published in ''The world in 2010: ICT facts and figures''.

The study also reveals that 162 million of the 226 million new Internet users in 2010 will come from developing countries, where growth rates are higher. However, by the end of 2010, 71 percent of the population in developed countries will have Internet access, while in developing countries this figure will be 21 percent. On the other hand, in developed countries 65 percent of people have Internet access at home, a figure that drops to only 13.5 percent of citizens of developing countries where access to Internet in schools, workplaces and public places is fundamental. In regional terms, the differences are significant: 65 percent of Europeans are on the Internet, versus just 9.6 percent of Africans.

ITU believes that broadband can act as a catalyst for the growth of Internet access, which seems to be confirmed by the strong growth of such access in the last year. At the end of 2010, broadband penetration rate will reach a value of 8 percent worldwide. However, developing countries, with 4.4 percent, are still far from the 24.6 percent of the developed countries.

ITU's publication indicates that mobile telephone service (MTS) is a globally comprehensive service available to 90 percent of the world´s population. At the end of 2010, it is estimated that of the 5.3 billion STM subscriptions (in which 940 million are 3G services. Nd generation), about 3.8 billion will belong to developing countries.

The study also indicates that, overall, the price of services related to information and communication technology (ICT) has been declining in recent years.