United States International

How Next Billion Users Will Reshape the Internet

How Next Billion Users Will Reshape the Internet
by: Michael Geist

Last month hundreds of people descended on Rio de Janiero, Brazil, for the second annual Internet Governance Forum. Sponsored by the United Nations, the IGF attracted politicians, business leaders, technologists, civil society representatives, and others interested in the global issues facing the Internet.

While media coverage of the forum focused primarily on domain name issues, those concerns were overshadowed by a far more important and challenging question -- what will the next billion Internet users mean to the Internet itself? With more than a billion Internet users worldwide, doubling that number -- which should happen within the next decade -- will obviously have a profound effect on the network, technology, the computer software industry, access to knowledge, and our environment.

Understanding the effect of another billion Internet users starts with considering the origin of those users. Although some will reside in North America, Europe, and other developed countries that close their domestic digital divides, the majority of the growth will undoubtedly come from the developing world. China is already the second largest Internet-using country in the world and it will likely surpass the United States (the current leader) within the next year or two, adding 250 million Internet users over the next decade.

Read the entire article at: http://thetyee.ca/Mediacheck/2007/12/11/NextBillion/

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