The number of internet users around the world topped 400 million in 2000, and will surpass one billion by 2005, according to a survey. The study by Etforecasts of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, also predicted that wireless Internet users, which accounts for less than 10 per cent of those online globally, will grow to 62 per cent by 2005.
Most of the growth in Internet users is coming from Asia, Latin America and parts of Europe. By year-end 2005 the number of worldwide Internet users will nearly triple to 1.17 billion.
The report noted that although wireless internet is seen as a disappointment, "the wireless internet will take off rapidly once always-on service and useful content for the small displays of wireless devices are available. It said wireless devices will be supplemental to PC internet access for most users in developed countries, but the primary Web access in lesser developed countries that now have low internet penetration.
According to the survey, US users in 2000 represented 35 million -- or roughly one-third of the 414 million global Internet users, with Europe accounting for 95 million.
US Internet users are expected to grow to 214 million by 2005 -- or about 20 per cent of the global Internet population of 1.174 billion, while European users will overtake the United States and grow to 246 million.