of the Internet 2000
States Internet Council
Why this study?
In April 1999, the
United States Internet Council released our first "State of the
Internet" report to summarize key trends in the development of a
social, political, and economic communications revolution that has
emerged on the world stage in just a few years.
When President Bill
Clinton took office in January 1993, most Americans outside of
government and academic circles were completely unaware of the Internet
as it then existed. Perhaps
fewer than 90,000 people worldwide used the net at that time on a
In the summer of
2000, industry monitors estimate more than 300 million people worldwide
are using the net on a frequent basis for business, research, shopping,
personal correspondence, social interactions, entertainment, listening
to radio, and communications and information-sharing functions of every
The number of people
using this still-young medium has grown in a geometric progression.
The current online population is more than 3,000 times the number
of people who were online just seven years ago.
Five years from now,
some industry estimates predict that the number of users worldwide will
pass the one-billion mark, with more than 700 million users living
outside of North America. Already,
users who speak English as their primary language constitute only a
little more than half of all persons using the net.
Those who speak English as a second language and the number of
web sites hosted in the U.S. are two factors that will continue to
support the dominance of English on the Internet for a few more years to
come. Nevertheless, the
trend noted in our 1999 report to more non-English web sites and
content, along with more sites hosted outside English-speaking
countries, continues to be a prominent feature in this year's analysis.
For these reasons,
this year's report contains far more information about global trends and
emerging Internet markets in Europe, Africa, and Asia and the Pacific
Rim. While the net
continues to be heavily influenced by American use and culture, the
diversity of net users continues last year's trends in every way.
This summer, for the
first time, women using the net have surpassed men in the United States.
Racial, economic, and other manifestations of what was called the
"digital divide" in our 1999 report continue to show that the
diversity of users is accelerating.
Our last section,
"Looking Forward," presents some of our recommendations for
both government policy and self-regulatory frameworks that are being
developed by industry.
In this regard, it is
useful and important for officials in government and users of the
Internet alike to recognize that just as the net is changing the way we
live our lives, it will also fundamentally challenge and change how we
Those nations, states, corporations, and citizens who adapt to the net's constant innovation will continue to thrive.
William C. Myers Charles W. Dyke
Chief Executive Officer President and CEO
United States Internet Council International Technology
& Trade Associates, Inc.
The Internet has become a powerful research tool.
With over 2 billion unique, indexable pages, the Internet today
offers what often seems to be an unending reservoir of information and
knowledge. This year’s
“State of the Internet 2000” report was researched primarily on the
Internet, drawing from media and other publicly available resources.
The authors have also included personal insights and applied
their expertise in a concise and targeted manner to provide an easily
accessible overview of the state of the Internet and the forces,
practices, and technologies that are changing this dynamic medium.
The report itself employs parenthetical references by section.
A full list of references is included at the end of the report.
Any omissions or oversights are the responsibility of the
This year’s report was written and researched by International
Technology and Trade Associates (ITTA), Inc., for the United States
Internet Council. ITTA
writers included Douglas F. Ramsey (Analyst), Erica Colberg (Analyst),
and George M. Dryden (Manager, Defense and Government Systems).
Section 3.3 (Wireless)
was written by Robert G. Allen, Director of the ITTA Telecommunications
Consulting Group and section 3.4 (Broadcasting)
was written by Kara Steele, Executive Director of the Center for the New
West. Section 5. (Looking
Forward) was provided by the staff of the U.S. Internet Council
which include CEO Bill Myers, Vice President Mark Q. Rhoads, and Senior
Fellow Gordon S. Jones, who also provided editorial support.
ITTA Inc. (www.itta.com) is an
international business consulting company with offices in Washington,
D.C., and Brussels, Belgium. ITTA
is a U.S. Internet Council corporate member and represents the Council
This year’s report, The
State of the Internet 2000, provides an overview of the continuing
expansion of the Internet and gives special attention to the
increasingly international nature of the Internet.
The Internet has far surpassed its humble beginnings as the
Department of Defense’s ARPANET.
It has become truly global in scope, growing more so with each
passing day. The Internet
draws people of all countries, cultures, and languages.
This year over 300 million people are online, with fewer than
half from North America. This
gap is expected to widen further, as the world’s online population
becomes more nationally and culturally diverse and less
The Global Growth
section focuses on emerging Internet populations in various regions of
the world. Online growth in
areas such as the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America has surpassed
expectations as e-commerce initiatives and personal Internet use have
blossomed. Despite the
bright outlook for continued Internet penetration, there is a
significant global digital divide, primarily between the North and
South. For example, only
1.5 million people are online in Africa, 1 million of whom are in South
Africa. Poverty and
inadequate telecommunications infrastructure in the developing world
must be alleviated in order for Internet use to become fully
The section on Social
Trends provides a discussion of the fundamental changes taking place
in the way people communicate and conduct business.
Although the digital divide still exists in the U.S., tremendous
strides have been made in eliminating it, thus permitting more Americans
to communicate via the Internet and opening up a world of new
opportunities to low-income families.
The Internet is quickly becoming an essential part of every
classroom as students at all levels of education utilize it to do
research and participate in a variety of online educational activities.
Additionally, the emergence of virtual communities has drawn the
world closer together as people from all walks of life may speak to each
other in chat rooms and find a community with similar interests.
As highlighted in the Technology
section, new technologies continue to transform how the Internet is
used. Technologies such as
XML, wireless Internet, and encryption are being standardized, thus
strengthening e-commerce initiatives and other Internet activities.
Alongside these new technologies, however, come new threats such
as cyber-terrorism. The
U.S. and the international community have made significant advances in
tracking and halting hacking and other forms of cyber-terrorism.
Perhaps the E-Business section
provides the best glimpse into the future of the Internet, which has
given industry an entirely new way of conducting business.
Companies have revolutionized industry practices, creating
greater efficiency and monetary savings.
E-commerce has similarly exploded with online retailing and
industry marketplaces. Business-to-consumer
and business-to-business e-commerce promise to continue seizing an
increasingly larger share of the goods and services market in the coming
years. Outside the U.S.,
companies have begun to take note of the online successes of North
American businesses and are starting to follow suit.
The concluding section, entitled Looking
Forward, examine future government and industry Internet challenges.
Although most governments have maintained a laissez-faire
approach to the online industry, there is more and more pressure by
citizens concerned about privacy and security for some degree of
regulation and monitoring. Within
the U.S. and European countries, legislative bodies have already
instituted minor measures geared towards the protection of personal
information. Without a
doubt, greater Internet regulation will occur in the coming years;
however, industry and government should work together to insure that any
regulation fully supports the continued growth of the Internet economy
while protecting the interests of individuals.
This is not just a national effort.
The countries and companies of the world must collaborate and
standardize guidelines for the Internet industry to avoid costly
international disputes and to continue the dissemination of Internet
technology to the entire world.
Overall, we can safely say that the State of the Internet is good. Rising technologies, new applications, and expanding usage indicate that the Internet will continue to grow. Although it remains possible that governments might smother the Internet in regulation, early signs suggest that this is unlikely. The Internet should continue to evolve into an open and global information environment, which we hope it can become.
Click on a section name to download it.
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Technology and Trade Associates (ITTA) Inc.
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